Utility owner threatened to cut throat of Florence town manager, police were told

Utility owner threatened to cut throat of Florence town manager, police were told

The Florence town manager told police that the owner of Johnson Utilities threatened last year to cut his throat.

Documents released Thursday show that Town Manager Brent Billingsley was documenting utility company trucks leaking possibly contaminated materials on Diversion Dam Road. Billingsley said lab results showed the spillage had “identical bacteria components to raw sewage.”

What followed, the police report says, was Billingsley getting an expletive-filled call from George Johnson saying he was going to cut his throat.

Johnson denied any such conversation.

“I’m a business person,” he told an investigator for the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, which took over the probe.

“I don’t go around threatening people,” the report quotes Johnson. He declined to answer further questions without an attorney, later supplying a written affidavit invoking his right to remain silent.

The case was dropped after a lawyer from the Attorney General’s Office pointed out the call was not recorded and there were no other witnesses.

“There is no corroboration regarding the threat and thus there is no reasonable likelihood of conviction in this case,” wrote Assistant Attorney General Adam Schwart. But the documents, including the police report, were not released until Thursday.

Billingsley previously told pinalcentral.com that he respects the attorney general’s decision but stands by his original statements.

The alleged incident occurred as Johnson and others were on trial in federal court on charges of bribery and fraud. That case ended in a mistrial when jurors could not reach a verdict.

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