Settlement reached in civil suit against ex-Chatham County Probate Court Chief Clerk

Settlement reached in civil suit against ex-Chatham County Probate Court Chief Clerk

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Kim Birge is serving time in federal prison right now.

She pleaded guilty in 2015 to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many of her victims lost loved ones in the sugar refinery explosion.

WTOC spoke to a Savannah attorney representing 11 of Birge’s victims about this week’s settlement.

​Kim Birge admitted to stealing $232,000 from the Probate Court while holding the chief clerk title, though the federal government found that number to be much higher at more than $750,000 over a three year period. That was money set up as trusts by numerous families, meant to go to loved ones after losing parents in some cases.

“What they went through...I mean, this was about Machelle Moore, great lady. Your sister dies, and you’re supposed to look after her 9-year old and you get a phone call that all the money’s gone. And I think Ms. Birge had to make compensation. That’s what this was about," said attorney Brent Savage.

Savage referenced one of the families he represented. He says Birge stole just over $236,000 from that trust, and more than $400,000 total from all his clients. While all of his clients have been paid back by other sources since the theft happened, a settlement was reached that requires Birge to pay for the effects of her actions on the victims, and cover things like attorneys fees.

Savage said, “We reached a resolution to have her husband stay in the house until he passes, you know, my clients are not vindictive people, and then they get the house.”

The value of the Birge’s home will be divided up proportionally among the 11 families Savage represents. And that’s potentially not all for compensation.

“The County is refusing to pay her pension, which is roughly $60,000 a year. And we are going to take an assignment of half that pension, 30-thousand a year. And we hope that the County will pay some of this to the victims.”

Birge is set to be released from federal prison next year.

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