DeKalb committee to discuss removal of Confederate monument! History to Be Removed After 100 Years!


[DeKalb County commissioners are discussing options to remove the Lost Cause Confederate obelisk in Decatur Square, erected in 1908 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.]
Rosie Manins/CrossRoadsNews

DeKalb committee to discuss removal of Confederate monument
By Rosie Manins May 4, 2018 (…)
http://www.crossroadsnews.com/news/dekalb-committee-to-discuss-removal-of-confederate-monument/article_69a41b2e-4e2a-11e8-b714-0bf207d92bb8.html

DeKalb committee to discuss removal of Confederate monument

he next step for DeKalb County in its quest to remove a 110-year-old Confederate monument from Decatur Square will be decided by the county’s operations committee.

The committee – made up of DeKalb Commissioners Steve Bradshaw, as chairman, Nancy Jester and Mereda Davis Johnson – will discuss what to do at their next meeting on May 8.
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DeKalb committee to discuss removal of Confederate monument

Mereda Davis Johnson

Johnson, representing District 5, introduced a resolution to remove the Lost Cause monument that was passed by the Board of Commissioners in January, and has since suggested a taskforce be set up, involving DeKalb citizens, to explore options and make recommendations.

Commissioner Kathie Gannon, of Super District 6, has also suggested the monument be relocated to county property in a less prominent position, and that historic context be added to the display.

Those options will be considered by the committee, as the county received only two responses to a public request for information about moving the monument, which ran 60 days from Feb. 22 to April 23.

DeKalb chief operating officer Zachary Williams said one respondent suggested the monument be left in place, outside the historic DeKalb County courthouse, and turned into a veterans’ memorial.

The other respondent suggested the 30-foot-tall obelisk, erected in 1908 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, could be relocated to the Allatoona Pass Battlefield of the Red Top Mountain State Park in northwest Georgia.
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DeKalb committee to discuss removal of Confederate monument

Zachary Williams

Williams, speaking to commissioners during their Committee of the Whole meeting on May 1, said the county had contacted the director of the department of natural resources for state parks, who agreed to respond if the county provided a detailed request or submission.

Williams said another “potentially interested party” was sent a submission form by the county at the end of April.

“We’ve continued to solicit and seek ideas, although the RFI period has expired,” he said.

Prior to issuing an RFI, the county also contacted the Atlanta History Center, Oakland Cemetery, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, Pickett’s Mill Battlefield Site, United Daughters of the Confederacy, Marietta Confederate Cemetery and Marietta National Cemetery, to gauge interest in the monument.

“We did not receive an interest from any of those, and overall we’ve not received a robust interest in doing anything as it relates to moving or contextualizing or anything else as it relates to the monument,” Williams said.

Rader, who represents District 2, suggested the operations committee take charge, to form a recommendation for the Board of Commissioners to consider.
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DeKalb committee to discuss removal of Confederate monument

Jeff Rader

“I think that it would be time now, given that we’ve solicited input from outside folks, that we then commit this to the operations committee, since they’re responsible for county property, to take those suggestions and maybe come up with our next step,” Rader said. “Because what I see us having to do is to go ahead and now resolve to take the next steps forward, whether it’s one of the suggestions from commissioners or a hybrid of those, depending on how the commission wants to move forward and it seems like that deliberation would best occur in the operations committee.”

In April, Johnson said the county would remove the monument no matter what, once it had explored its legal options.

“We have the authority to do so,” she said April 10. “I would like to put it in storage until we can get someone that can take it. We have to follow the law and the bureaucracy but we intend to remove the monument.”

The obelisk, which “glorifies and praises soldiers of the Confederacy,” has become a contentious issue for thousands in the community who have signed petitions for and against its removal.

Hundreds of people have also marched against the monument and held vigils calling for it to be taken away from downtown Decatur.

Opponents of the Jim Crow-era obelisk say it is inappropriate to have a monument, which was created to intimidate people of color, in a prominent position at the county’s seat of justice and administration.

They point out the monument’s installation in Decatur Square came on the heels of the bloody Atlanta race riot of 1906, when armed white mobs attacked black people, killing more than 25 and injuring more than 90.

Those who prefer the monument to stay in situ say it is an important reminder of history, and that more information should be installed around the structure for historic context.
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Hell, let’s all get together and bitch about something, just for the sake of finding out if the County will remove it. NOTICE the article shows that the thing is at the “old” Courthouse. Not at the currently used Courthouse, but the ancient, antique courthouse. So WTF, is the problem here?

Don’t Matter The Roads Are Like Shit, We Got The BEST FLEET!


DeKalb Receives “Best Fleet” in North America Award

Wed, 2018-05-02 13:44
https://www.dekalbcountyga.gov/news/dekalb-receives-%E2%80%9Cbest-fleet%E2%80%9D-north-america-award

DECATUR, Ga. – The DeKalb County Fleet Management Department was awarded the “Best Fleet” in North America Award sponsored by 100 Best Fleets in America and Governing Magazine. The county earned first place out of 38,000 public fleets and was recognized for distinguished customer service, sustainability practices and employee training.

“The DeKalb Fleet Management Department exemplifies all that is right about public service,” said Tom C. Johnson, founder of the 100 Best Fleets in America program. “The county has developed best practices that reduce the need for unscheduled repairs, maintenance costs and negative environmental impacts.”

Fleet Management maintains repair services for a fleet of approximately 3,600 county vehicles and equipment. In the past year, the department has maintained a 99 percent positive feedback rate on customer service surveys and implemented green initiatives that include upgrading the fueling program, opening an environmentally friendly above-ground fuel site and reducing gasoline and diesel fuel consumption. The county also trained nearly 300 drivers on idle reduction which limits engine running time and improves DeKalb’s air quality.

“DeKalb County is pleased to recognize the leadership of Robert Gordon, deputy director of fleet management,” said CEO Michael Thurmond. “His commitment to excellent service, environmental stewardship and creating a high-trust culture is an example for all of us to follow.”

Fleet Management which is part of the Department of Public Works includes 1,600 full- and part-time employees and a budget of $460 million.

“We keep DeKalb rolling,” said Deputy Director Gordon.” Winning the 100 Best Fleet Award shows that the county is providing value to the citizens we serve and that we are focused on doing the right thing.”

Started nineteen years ago, the annual 100 Best Fleets in America program recognizes high-trust, high-performance fleet operations in North America and Canada. Criteria for the award includes use of technology, performance, collaboration, service turnaround time and accountability. This award was recently announced at the NAFA Institute and Expo. For more information, visit http://www.the100bestfleets.com.

DeKalb Planning & Sustainability (Building Permits)

It never ceases to amaze me…

They cut down a 200 year old Red Oak.

This is where that same tree used to be. Now, it is a parking spot.

There is supposed to be a tree ordinance in DeKalb County, GA where you cannot cut down a tree this size without an arborist deciding that the tree is ill.

There was a dumpster there for 2 weeks the first time a dumpster was brought in. The toilet under the dumpster was there the second week, and when the dumpster left, the toilet stayed in the yard.

When we complained, they told us that we need to be more tolerant! What? A toilet sitting in the yard for 2 weeks, one of those weeks there was a dumpster there? Are you shitting me? No pun intended.

We were also told, that they have the right to work. Yes they do. BUT
You have people with no knowledge of construction doing major structural work to a house that they don’t intend on living in.

One look at the side of the house, tells you that behind that vinyl siding is a major problem.

Not to mention that vinyl siding does not wave up and down, but it sure as hell don’t curl upward for no reason.
But we have to be more tolerant.

A house that fifteen people in the neighborhood, who had all lived here 20+ years, and knew the history of the house, signed and notarized a petition to have the house demolished because no one has lived there for 30 years, the house is 77 years old, and the lines from the house to the septic tank dissolved 20 or more years ago.

But that’s ok, we must be more tolerant. A rat infested, hole with no toilet in it (No the toilet has not been replaced), with anywhere between 6-12 people working at a time, for 6-10 hours a day, and we are supposed to be more tolerant, because they have a right to work.

What is going to happen to the unsuspecting single mother moves in, thinking she has finally found a home, and the whole thing collapses on her and kills her and her child?

YOU’VE GOT IT, DEKALB COUNTY SUX!!!

Roderick L. Wyatt, 61, of Stone Mountain, has been charged with accepting bribe payments in exchange for approving the enrollment of almost 20 students to a local college, through a federal workforce program in DeKalb County. The federal indictment alleges that Wyatt agreed to accept payments from the college president for each student sent to the college through WorkSource DeKalb, a federally funded program.

“Wyatt allegedly sold his supervisory position with WorkSource DeKalb for cash. In doing so, he allegedly accepted a “bounty” for each student sent to a specific college,” said U. S. Attorney John A. Horn.

“An important mission of the Office of Inspector General is to investigate allegations of fraud relating to Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act grants issued by the U.S. Department of Labor. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate these types of allegations,” said Rafiq Ahmad, Special Agent in Charge, Atlanta Region, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General.

Public corruption is the FBI’s top criminal investigative priority because it takes a significant toll on the public’s pocketbooks by siphoning off tax dollars,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge David J. LeValley. “This case is another example of our commitment to combat corruption by investigating public officials who choose to abuse federally funded programs.”

According to United States Attorney Horn, the charges, and other information presented in court: the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act is a federal public law designed to improve and modernize America’s workforce development system by providing dislocated and low-income individuals with the skills and education needed to obtain employment and by providing employers with trained and qualified workers to fill employment vacancies.

WorkSource DeKalb (formerly DeKalb Workforce Development) was a DeKalb County department funded exclusively by the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. WorkSource DeKalb (“WSD”) served the unemployed and underemployed citizens of DeKalb County by providing work readiness programs, services, and activities necessary to obtain sustainable wages. Using federal funds, WSD paid the cost for unemployed and underemployed individuals to attend pre-screened schools or programs where the individuals gained the technical or vocational skills needed to obtain employment in fields such as nursing, truck driving, or welding. After reviewing the unemployed individuals’ career aspirations and educational interests, WSD staff members recommended the individuals to particular pre-screened schools or programs.

From 2013 to April 2017, Wyatt served as a WSD Employment and Training Supervisor. As a supervisor, Wyatt reviewed and approved the school/program recommendations made by WSD staff members.

In 2014, the president and founder of a pre-screened school that offered its students nursing assistant and medical technician certifications approached Wyatt and offered to pay him for each individual that WSD referred to the College. In 2014 and 2015, Wyatt approved the enrollment of approximately 19 students to the College. The College’s president paid Wyatt $100 for each student approved to attend his school. In total, the College received approximately $82,000 in federal funds under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. The name of the college has not been identified in the Information or any of the court pleadings.

This case is being investigated by the Department of Labor – Office of the Inspector General and Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey W. Davis and Special Assistant United States Attorney Tyler Man prosecuting the case.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016.

 

 

 

 

Lithonia state rep aims to create commission to decide placement and value of historic monuments

Confederate monuments not limited to the Old South

A statue depicting confederate general and former Georgia Gov. John Brown Gordon on horseback is shown outside the Georgia statehouse Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Atlanta. Most of the 11 Southern states that seceded prior to and during the Civil War have rebel monuments on or near the grounds of their state Capitol buildings. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

John Bazemore

State Representative Vernon Jones (D-Lithonia) today announced that he will introduce legislation that would create a state commission on historic monuments during the 2018 legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly.

“The recent events in Charlottesville, Va., have spurred on calls for the removal of historical monuments and artifacts that honor a dark era in Georgia’s history,” said Jones. “While I have my personal beliefs on the matter, I propose that a bipartisan, systematic and transparent study be conducted in an effort to arrive at an inclusive solution.”

Should this legislation pass and be enacted, this commission would hold statewide hearings to discuss historic monuments and artifacts, and would make recommendations to the governor and the General Assembly regarding monument placement and the possibility of adding new monuments that hold historic value to the citizens of Georgia.

“Hysteria and knee jerk reactions are not the solution. Sensitive subjects such as this deserve calm, practical and open dialogue. A house divided cannot stand, and Georgians must show the nation that we can unite for the greater good,” added Jones.

Commission members would reflect and represent a broad spectrum of interest on the subject, and would include, but not be limited to, preservationists, historians and advocacy groups.

Jones represents the citizens of District 91, which includes portions of DeKalb and Rockdale counties.

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    Until Obama was elected, all this BS had settled down, and everyone was getting along. The educated and sensible people within this state, know the history, and everyone in those categories, are tolerant and understanding, unless and until outsiders come here, and want to change the history, heritage, and the residents.
    Stop the hate damnit, and get over yourselves.

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    Wow! I was taught that if you go around killing statues, or even harming them, that you go to jail. If that had been what happened to the idiots that knocked over the statues, the first time, we wouldn’t even be going there now. One day, people will get smart and enforce the damn laws

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    Why are we even discussing monuments that have been up a century? Here’s why: because intolerant, anti-diversity, hateful, bigots are leading an attack on them. There is room in this state for everyone’s monuments. To call on “the other guy’s” monument to be taken down is regressive.

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    Or, our bottom of the barrel education system taught the lie about them that these people weren’t traitors to our country. And now that we know that they were treasonous traitors, we’ve decided that we don’t want to honor them in our public spaces anymore.

    We now know that the Confederate States of America was a country. And that these men fought for the CSA against the USA. That’s the textbook definition of a traitor.

    So there’s that.

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    “Hysteria and knee jerk reactions are not the solution. Sensitive subjects such as this deserve calm, practical and open dialogue. A house divided cannot stand, and Georgians must show the nation that we can unite for the greater good,” added Jones.” Sounds like you just gave in to the hysteria? There was no dialogue before. Apparently we live in a world where everyone asks for tolerance unless your from the South.

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    Never fails. Every time some false national narrative kicks up some lowlife weasel politician pops up spouting demogogery.

    Leave history alone. Leave our Monuments alone. Or step down.

 

  • AJC: Rhonda Cook Article: Grand jury hears more evidence in DeKalb judge case

    Grand jury hears more evidence in DeKalb judge case
    Updated: 5:22 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015 | Posted: 4:23 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015
    http://www.myajc.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/grand-jury-hears-more-evidence-in-dekalb-judge-cas/nnJz5/#3af79632.4016292.735826

    By Rhonda Cook – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    For the second time in a week, a special prosecutor laid out evidence for a grand jury that allegedly proves DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Cynthia Becker made false statements to the Judicial Qualifications Commission.

    Prosecutor Parks White is asking the grand jury to return an indictment against Becker, who resigned March 1 after 14 years on the bench. In a letter announcing her planned retirement, Becker wrote that she was leaving the bench because she was getting married and moving to another county.

    Becker allegedly made the false statements during an interview at a law office in Marietta, which made it a Cobb County matter.

    White, the district attorney for five counties in northeast Georgia, was appointed special prosecutor when the Cobb district attorney recused his office because three of his top prosecutors were once practiced before Becker as assistant district attorneys in DeKalb.

    He left the Cobb courthouse Thursday without commenting. Grand jury proceedings are secret by law.

    Becker’s attorney, Brian Steel, also declined comment Thursday.

    Becker is accused of making false statements when she was questioned about her sentencing of former DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Crawford Lewis, which the the JQC was investigating.

    Two years ago, Lewis was charged with felony racketeering and faced the possibility of up to 65 years in prison. But two weeks before his trial was scheduled to start, Lewis agreed to testify against his two co-defendants. — Pat Reid, the school district’s former chief operating officer, and Reid’s ex-husband, architect Tony Pope. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to let him plead guilty to misdemeanor obstruction of the investigation of school construction contracts and to recommend a sentence of 12 months probation.

    Prosecutors and Lewis’ lawyers said Becker agreed to the deal.

    Yet, when it came time to sentence Lewis, Becker ordered him jailed for 12 months. She said the deal was void because his testimony was not truthful. Becker also ordered Lewis locked up immediately and refused to consider an appeal bond until she returned the following week from an out-of-town trip to attend the Army-Navy football game.

    Nine months later, the JQC started an administrative investigation into Becker. Last September, she was called to to the Marietta law office of JQC member Robert Ingram to answer questions. Becker insisted several times that Lewis never asked for a bond.

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    On a personal Note, on personal experience…

    Personal Note: Judge Becker was the Judge that gave GA Power easement over our entire property, after we proved that GA Power had forged and falsified documentation so that they could claim to have an express grant easement. There was no Dr. Robert Wells in 1937, 1942, or ever. There had been Dr. James Wells, but he passed away before that date.
    The Wells Family lived in the Brown-Wells house on Ridge Avenue, which is where the Stone Mountain Historic Society is currently located.

    Remember, if you are going to lie, don’t lie about one of the most known families in an area. Also don’t lie about the people’s names in the family. The Wells Family Tree is great! When I saw it, it went back to the 1560’s in England, I believe it was, and the Wells Family came here almost on the Mayflower. A lot of History and Heritage in the Wells Family. Very well documented, and the property the Wells Family had owned, was sold and became Stone Mountain Industrial Park, on the other side of town is where their property had been.

    Georgia Power must have paid Judge Becker a lot of money to find against all of our evidence. Including evidence that showed the documents were signed by a ball point pen, which did not come out until the late 60’s. May she get what she deserves!!!

    DeKalb County Continues to Suck

    Posted: 6:01 p.m. Friday, April 24, 2015
    Ch. 2 Investigation reveals possible kickback to DeKalb officials

    By Jodie Fleischer
    http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/ch-2-investigation-reveals-possible-kickback-dekal/nk3Rn/

    DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — DeKalb County’s Interim CEO Lee May is calling for an investigation into a $4,000 check with his name on it, saying he didn’t endorse it, or receive the money from it when it was cashed.

    A Chanel 2 Action News – Atlanta Journal Constitution investigation uncovered the check while looking into work done at May’s home which was paid for by DeKalb taxpayers. The vendor who did the work went on to win hundreds of thousands of dollars in DeKalb contracts.

    “Absolutely, I plan on having a conversation to figure out what the hell was done, excuse my French,” May told investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer.

    The money trail surrounding the $4,000 check appears to end with one of three men: interim CEO Lee May, the commissioners’ former chief of staff Morris Williams or businessman Doug Cotter.

    “Morris [Williams] contacted me and said, ‘Doug, Lee’s having some financial trouble, is there any way you can help him out?'” Cotter recounted.

    May was a DeKalb commissioner at the time, and had just filed bankruptcy.

    Cotter got the check from a water removal and restoration company that had just completed work at May’s home in January.

    “It could have been a reimbursement check. Yes, but it wasn’t my signature on it and I’m not sure how the check got out there,” said John Meyer, who used to own that company, Water Removal Services.

    Cotter says it couldn’t be a reimbursement, because the county directly paid for the work at May’s house, roughly $6,500. But the $4,000 check was made out to Lee May, personally, six days later.

    Cotter says he delivered it to Morris Williams because he was close friends with him and saw him more often than he saw May, since Williams was the commissioners’ chief of staff he worked at the Decatur office full time.

    Within a few days, Cotter says he heard from Morris Williams again.

    “Morris asked me, ‘Doug, is there any way you can cash this for Lee?’ said Cotter, “I said sure, I know both of them.”

    Cotter’s family owns a liquor store with a check cashing business inside, and he admits he’s the one who turned that check into $4,000 cash.

    “I handed that money to Morris Williams and that was the last time I saw it,” said Cotter, “I was hoping it was going to the intended use , to help Lee [May] and his family.”

    “I’m answering this very clearly,” said May, “That is not a check that was cut to me. I’ve never received $1 let alone $4000.”

    The contract connection
    Records show two weeks after that check cleared, bidding opened on a new county contract for water removal. Cotter submitted a bid for the same company that had done the work at May’s home, Water Removal Services, and won the contract.

    “I never wanted to participate down there to begin with, that’s why we never took that contract,” said Meyer, the company’s former owner, “We just kind of backed out.”

    But Meyer says Cotter still wanted the contract badly.

    In fact, three days before Cotter placed the Water Removal Services bid, he reserved the name for his own new company. Haw Creek Restoration went on to make more than $300,000 in DeKalb work.

    “If it’s a situation where a brand new company is getting work and they didn’t compete after it, absolutely not, that should not occur,” said May.

    But it did occur. May has asked DeKalb County’s new purchasing director to investigate why it was allowed.

    Fleischer asked Cotter if the $4,000 had anything to do with his bid to win that contract.
    “No!” Cotter replied, “No. Lee had nothing to do with the bidding process.”

    Lee May says he also had nothing to do with that check.

    “It is absolutely not my signature,” said May, adding that he didn’t even know the check existed.
    Fleischer pulled samples of Lee May’s signature from official county records, as well as samples of Morris Williams’ handwriting, since Cotter says when he got the check back from Williams it was already endorsed with May’s name on the back.

    The “M” in May appears to resemble the “M” in Morris Williams’ regular signature.
    After 17 years with the county, Williams abruptly retired last month, just as the FBI began investigating all of this. Williams had since been promoted to the position of deputy chief operating officer.

    Morris Williams declined our request for an on-camera interview. By phone, he would only say Cotter’s version of events “did not happen that way.” Williams said he did not receive “that amount of money” from Cotter, but he refused to comment when Fleischer asked whether he ever gave May any money.

    May has been particularly vocal in his efforts to root out DeKalb corruption since he’s taken over as interim CEO. He forwarded all of the records Channel 2 requested and a copy of the $4,000 check to the GBI, FBI, the district attorney and local law enforcement to prove he’s serious about getting to the bottom of it.

    “For someone to benefit off my name, that’s inappropriate, that’s illegal and they need to be dealt with,” said May.
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    Updated: 8:43 p.m. Wednesday, March 18, 2015 | Posted: 6:23 p.m. Wednesday, March 18, 2015
    DeKalb CEO launches investigation into own county
    By Richard Belcher and Jodie Fleischer

    http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/dekalb-ceo-launches-investigation-own-county/nkZNq/

    DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — The man heading up DeKalb County has ordered a comprehensive review of operations in his county in search of corruption.

    Interim CEO Lee May announced Wednesday that he’s launching an investigation and he wants all 6,000 employees to cooperate.

    The investigation will employ two of the people who spent 10 months digging into the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal. Mike Bowers and Richard Hyde will have unfettered authority to look at whatever they want.

    Interim DeKalb CEO Lee May’s announcement comes on the heels of a year-long Channel 2 Action News and Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation exposing misspending, corruption and theft within DeKalb County government.

    Our reporting led the district attorney’s investigators and the FBI to file records requests to obtain many of the same records we did; it has already led to guilty pleas, ongoing criminal investigations and more than $25,000 repaid to DeKalb taxpayers.

    Last April, May rewrote the county’s purchasing card policy after our investigation caught then-Commissioner Elaine Boyer spending taxpayer dollars on airline tickets, family vacations and other personal expenses. She resigned, and pleaded guilty to federal charges after we uncovered her scheme to pay a man who didn’t do any work but billed more than $80,000 and then funneled much of it back to Boyer’s personal bank account.

    “To the people of DeKalb, I’m just deeply, deeply sorry,” Boyer told investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer.

    Last June, we exposed Commissioner Stan Watson’s use of taxpayer money to pay for his personal cellphone, even though he also had a county-issued phone. He agreed to pay back about $5,000. Watson said at the time he believed it was permissible, but agreed to stop because Channel 2 was asking about it.
    He has not repaid roughly $1,800 in taxpayer money spent to operate his campaign website, exposed after an investigation in September.
    Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton and her aide failed to provide receipts for more than $45,000 spent with county debit cards. Sutton said she didn’t know she was required to keep receipts. She said she didn’t know she used taxpayer dollars to pay a $130 speeding ticket she got while driving a rental car at an out-of-town conference. She also paid more than $30,000 to her boyfriend, as a consultant.
    “Every dime I’ve spent has been spent for the public interest,” Barnes Sutton said.
    Just last month we exposed questions about a phony ethics opinion that allowed DeKalb Development Authority Chairman Vaughn Irons to win a million-dollar contract for his personal development company, APD Solutions.
    Watson voted on that contract, even though he was on Irons’ payroll at the time.
    “I apologize to the citizens if I did that, I didn’t know I did that,” Watson told Fleischer.
    In mid-February, former DeKalb zoning official Jerry Clark pleaded guilty to taking a bribe from a nightclub owner who wanted a special land use permit. That vote was the subject of a Channel 2 Action News investigation in 2012.
    Former DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis is facing a 14-count indictment accusing him of shaking down vendors for campaign contributions and manipulating contracts, among other things. His first trial ended in a hung jury; the retrial is scheduled for later this year.
    During the original Ellis trial, state’s witness and unindicted co-conspirator Kelvin Walton, the former DeKalb purchasing director, admitted vendors gave him cash to help a secretary out of financial trouble. That secretary also sat on numerous selection committees to award contracts.

    ——————————————-

     

    By Ken Watts, CrossRoads News: Former DeKalb zoning official pleads guilty to bribery charge

    Former DeKalb zoning official pleads guilty to bribery charge
    Ken Watts | 2/27/2015, 1:36 p.m.

    Jeremy Clark, a former member of the DeKalb County Zoning Board of Appeals, pleaded guilty on Feb. 19 to a …

    Jeremy Clark, a former member of the DeKalb County Zoning Board of Appeals, pleaded guilty on Feb. 19 to a federal charge of accepting a $3,500 bribe. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)

    Jeremy Clark, a former member of the DeKalb County Zoning Board of Appeals, pleaded guilty on Feb. 19 to a federal charge of accepting a $3,500 bribe in exchange for his zoning vote in favor of letting a nightclub operate later hours.

    A U.S. grand jury in Atlanta indicted Clark on Feb. 10 on one count of “converting to personal use property of another,” U.S. District Court records show.

    Clark, who served on the Zoning Board of Appeals for four years, entered his guilty plea at a hearing in U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May’s court in downtown Atlanta. He will be sentenced on April 30.

    Clark is facing up to 20 years in prison.

    His attorney, Gary Spencer, said he’s hoping for a sentence significantly less than that because of Clark’s cooperation with prosecutors.

    Clark, who left the Zoning Board of Appeals in 2013, admitted meeting with the owner of a Tucker nightclub before a zoning vote in November 2012.

    Federal prosecutors have not named the club owner.

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Davis said at the hearing that the club was trying to provide late-night dancing without obtaining a special permit.

    In November 2008, the Board of Commissioners passed a zoning ordinance that regulated the placement and operation of late-night establishments and nightclubs.

    As a general matter, the ordinance mandated that new businesses must obtain a Special Land Use Permit if they wanted to operate either as a late-night establishment or as a nightclub.

    Davis said that Clark and the club owner had an agreement that Clark “would be rewarded” if the Zoning Board of Appeals granted permission for the later hours.

    The board approved the club’s request and Clark was paid $2,000 in cash and received a $1,500 donation to a charity with which he was involved.

    Clark must repay the $3,500 as a federal fine, according to the terms of his plea agreement.

    Acting U.S. Attorney John Horn said it took only $3,500 to subvert the purpose of the DeKalb zoning ordinance that was to regulate the operation of late-night nightclubs.

    “This case demonstrates how a corrupt public official can sell out the legitimate interests of the communities and citizens he serves, solely for his own profit,” Horn said. “DeKalb County citizens deserved better.”

    DeKalb interim CEO Lee May appointed Clark in 2009 while he was District 5 commissioner.

    In a Feb. 13 statement, May said he was deeply disturbed and saddened about the allegations and that Clark no longer has any association whatsoever with DeKalb County.

    “Situations such as this are what compelled me to give the DeKalb Board of Ethics the resources and tools to serve the residents of DeKalb County, and why I signed an executive order in June 2014 to define ethics rules for county employees,” he said.

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