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An agent with the U.S. Marshals Office leaves the OHCO office on Aug. 28 after the IRS and other officials launched an investigation.

COVINGTON — George W. Hart Jr., 73, the owner of OHCO Inc., died Sept. 24 of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home on Jackson Lake in Jasper County.

According to the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded at 11 a.m. to an address in Turtle Cove in reference to a possible suicide. Upon arrival, deputies discovered Hart deceased. Though the case is still under investigation, officials said there is no indication of foul play at this time.

OHCO is the target of an Internal Revenue Service investigation. IRS agents, accompanied by federal marshals and the Georgia State Patrol, raided OHCO on Aug. 28. An IRS agent at the scene would say only that they were looking at business records, but did say they were closing the building, and locksmiths were on hand to change the door locks. The business has remained closed since that time.

In addition to the IRS investigation, Hart and OHCO were facing tax problems locally. A check of the Taxpayer Search and Pay site on the Newton County Tax Commissioner’s website found OHCO has not paid property taxes since 2010, and according to delinquency records on the site, the company owes $503,614.47 in property taxes.

According to its website, OHCO is one of the largest exporters in the United States of fabric, textile stock lots and closeouts and has been in business for nearly 50 years. Its customer base primarily consists of clients in South America, Central America, Mexico, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean Islands.

OHCO also operates a retail outlet center in Covington with an area rug department and back warehouse sales, and holds “warehouse sales” twice a year in March and October.

Senior Reporter

Born and raised in Decatur, Ga. Graduated from Shorter College in Rome, Ga. in 1979 with B.A. in Communications. Worked in community newspapers for 26 years. Started at Rockdale Citizen/Newton Citizen in January 2016.