Environment

Restore DeKalb request Special Prosecutor and Expansion of Public Integrity Unit

barnes sutton head shot

I, Viola Davis, with Unhappy Taxpayer & Voter and Restore DeKalb, submit a new request and report detailing and summarizing an ethics complaint (alleged criminal activity, wrongdoing and malfeasance) against Sharon Barnes Sutton and others within DeKalb County government to the new DeKalb Board of Ethics (2016). I had and continue to have the support of Restore DeKalb with Joel Edwards and a group of citizens striving to “restore” transparency, ethics and accountability in our local and state government.

We request an advisory opinion because new evidence, documentation and witnesses have come forth to prove the code of ethics and state law were violated. The additional information will prove that the actions of a select group of elected officials and top administrators undermined the law to the point that the ethics case against Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton would need to be forwarded to:

1. A Special Prosecutor with the District Attorney and/or Solicitor General’s office. The District Attorney Robert James has a conflict of interest with Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton due to his close relationship with Warren Mosby, the prior boyfriend of Barnes Sutton and James’ campaign consultant.

2. An expansion of the Public Integrity Unit to include a cross section of law enforcement such as the local police department under Dr. Cedric Alexander with the FBI/GBI as oversight agents. The Public Integrity Unit investigates allegations of wrongdoing by elected officials and appointed officials.

We presented an earlier ethics complaint against Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton and Judy Brownlee to the DeKalb County Board of Ethics that was well documented and showed Barnes Sutton and Brownlee violated codes within Section 22A (c) (1-7) of the DeKalb County Code of Ordinances known as the Code of Ethics. Unfortunately, Barnes Sutton filed a lawsuit against the Board of Ethics proclaiming the board was unconstitutional. She questioned the authority of the board to sit in judgment of officials’ behavior, arguing that it undermines the fundamental due process rights. Despite DeKalb voters approving the new ethics law by 92% back in November of 2015, Sharon Barnes Sutton delayed the ethics board hearings which ultimately denied the public justice.

CBS46 News

Commentary: DoraTAD – New Schools Superintendent Won’t Contribute, Whether Gambling or Philanthropy

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Tom Doolittle, Contributor. File Photo.

DeKalb County, GA, January 11, 2016 – Commentary by Tom Doolittle, Contributor – “Our core business is teaching and learning, not speculative, unpredictable real estate projects.” Dr. R. Stephen Green, Superintendent DeKalb County School System

DeKalb School Board members are probably a little uncomfortable with new DCSD Superintendent R. Stephen Green being so outspoken about Tax Allocation Districts (TADs) – http://brookhavenpost.co/dekalb-schools-superintendent-has-reservations-participating-in-doraville-tad/35801/

By preemptively providing the media with a statement rejecting the Doraville TAD, Green has deftly deflected all the pressure that TAD proponents have tried to put on him. He has also sent tremors through the economic development world by invoking the unspoken “s” word—“speculation”.

The City of Doraville’s Tax Allocation District is 289 acres and projected to deliver $293 million in additional tax revenue over the next 25 years if the city’s redevelopment plan works. DeKalb County Government (“DeKalb”) has agreed in principal to participate. The school system would pay nearly three times what the city or county pays. The proposed breakdown for a maximum of $247 million in bonds would be about $50/50/150 million in round figures. (The outsized 58% school system contribution is unique to DeKalb because the government’s tax millage is lowered by the Homestead Option Sales Tax).

Green hasn’t taken umbrage with or demurred on the “Assembly” project at the General Motors site per se. That now represents only 149 usable acres of 289 acres in the TAD. Reading between the lines, the Superintendent wouldn’t support a TAD anywhere regardless of its projects’ particulars: location, jurisdiction or plan. Speculation is speculation, real estate development is real estate development and economic development is economic development—and Green says school systems don’t belong doing any of those.

Regarding “speculation” though, TADs can carry widely different levels of financial risk—and they are uncertain for different reasons for different entities. The Atlantic Station TAD had anchor tenants signed and substantial “soft” support from a civic league renowned in influence before the City of Atlanta took it on—Doraville has none. Bond holders presumably take on “all” the financial risk, given that taxpayers are not legally on the hook for defaults—yet would a city or county really allow a default given reputational implications? What developer is involved and how solid is its financing? Plans can range from abstract to those specifically associated with end-users.

Fundamentally, Atlantic Station is a corporate plan, one which TADs are well suited. By contrast, Doraville’s TAD (of which the former General Motors property is only half) is principally a program that builds a town, not a private sector development. It is planned for “public grounds” and is a sociological experiment first and contemplates revenue production last. One third of TAD bonds would be used for one project which idyllically connects the GM site to the rest of the town—the Atlanta Journal Constitution calls it a tunnel while the developer terms it a “covered street”. The cost, estimated from $80 million to $120 million would be on the order of investments that DeKalb makes for wide usage—jails, courts, libraries, etc., not areas which would remain unutilized by most in DeKalb.

As I have stated, the Assembly project is elegant and represents the idea of fulfilling all of New Urbanist theories that “mixed-use” developments have not. It’s not a corporate center, it’s a village from which the rest of the little town of Doraville can reinvent itself. Without the school system contribution, the $100 million in bonds that Doraville and DeKalb can underwrite can be used to leverage sums from various agencies. Those agencies would be appropriate for the type of “infrastructure” needed to fulfill its New Urbanist model—congestion relief/alternate transportation, density, mixed-income and income disparity solutions.

Dr. Green is articulating a problem that stems from the same underlying problems that required gyrations for DeKalb County to get to this juncture—the Doraville TAD, as planned (or unplanned) is philanthropic by nature—“speculative” being his term. Dr. Green has simplified at least one part of the equation by deciding the TAD is not required for him to do the job he was hired to do and he has handed the decision over to his board to grapple with. Meanwhile, he has removed himself from the predictable backlash from OTHER small towns in DeKalb or school parents in remote areas which will demand the same philanthropy.

Outstanding Balance of $53,404.72 “Not Paid” for Emergency Repair of Water Main Break

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Photo from It’s In DeKalb Twitter Page

Outstanding Balance of $53, 404.72 “not paid” for Emergency Repair of Water Main Break

GS Construction was contacted by DeKalb County to perform emergency work at the corner of Henderson Mill and Evans Road after a vehicle hit a fire hydrant on a 48 inch main. The accident caused the citizens of DeKalb to endure three full days of low water pressure and eventually a boil water advisory.

We are grateful that GS Construction, a private company, stepped to the frontline to help restore our water system and repair the water main that created a countywide crisis. We are sure that the taxpayers and voters would be upset to learn that we have not paid for the emergency services that corrected our water main crisis that caused the entire county to boil its water.

We received assistance from GS Construction in writing an After Action Report on the water main break of July 2015. We have also monitored the actions of GS Construction regarding retaliation after they assisted law enforcement in exposing an overbilling and kickback scheme that sent two DeKalb County employees to jail. We continue to be concerned with the large number of problems this company has experienced with payments after it completes its services.

We request ICEO Lee May and the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners to investigate and explain the reason our county continues to owe $53, 404.72 to GS Construction, especially after the excellent service they performed in restoring water to our county.

Further, we request that you immediately pay the amount owed to GS Construction.

View CBS46.com, Contractor says he wasn’t paid for work by DeKalb County…http://www.cbs46.com/story/30542640/contractor-says-he-wasnt-paid-for-work-by-dekalb-county?autostart=true

CBS46 News

https://www.scribd.com/doc/290097203/Outstanding-Balance-of-53-404-72-Not-Paid-for-Emergency-Repair-of-Water-Main-Break

Justice Delayed is Justice Denied – Short Version

barnes sutton head shot
Justice Delayed is Justice Denied – Official statement to cancellation of Commissioner Barnes Sutton’s ethics hearing

“Justice Delayed is Justice Denied”, stated by William E. Gladstone, a British politician who served four terms as Prime Minister, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote “Justice Too Long Delayed is Justice Denied” in his letter from the Birmingham jail in 1963. As government watchdogs and community missionaries, it is our opinion that the ruling by Superior Court Judge Courtney Johnson to stay the ethics hearing scheduled for November 12, 2015 was based on inaccurate and misleading information that she received from Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton’s attorney, Dwight L. Thomas. We view this action to be nothing more than a delay tactic that denies the taxpayers and voters of DeKalb County justice.

We initially filed the ethics complaint against Barnes Sutton and her top aide, Judy Brownlee, on May 30, 2014 (not on or about March 27, 2015 as stated in Thomas’ motion) with the addition of the 1st amendment on June 10, 2014. We received the support of Restore DeKalb in our efforts to ensure transparency, ethics and accountability. We work with several coalitions to hold our elected officials accountable to remove this “Cloud of Corruption”. The complaint is over 17 months old.

Throughout 2014 and 2015 thus far, we have submitted many amendments and summaries to this complaint. Dwight Thomas stated in the motion that the Complainant, Viola Davis, was a “no show” without identifying the fact that a continuance for medical issues was requested within the time limit, not to mention the 1st and only continuance requested after waiting over 15+ months for the “preliminary hearing”. Thomas also stated that no evidence was presented, despite the fact that over 699 pages (total collective pages) of documentation was presented to the Board of Ethics, a majority of which was placed online with over 6,773 views (total collective views).

It is unfortunate that the most protected position in this “right to work” state of Georgia is the taxpayers’ funded position called “elected officials”. This complaint demonstrates the tactics used to demean taxpayers and voters who attempt to hold elected officials accountable and/or attempt to petition the government.

Our original complaint is online and has over 1,486 views – please view the link: http://www.scribd.com/doc/230079667/Commissioner-Sharon-Barnes-Sutton-and-Judy-Brownlee-Ethics-Complaint-and-Amendment.

To date, we have filed a total of three complaints in our attempt to hold DeKalb County elected officials and government staff accountable to include:

1. Kelvin Walton and Nina Hall complaint titled, “Restore Public Trust Ethics Complaint” was filed March 17, 2014 (15 pages and 3,049 views). Kelvin Walton resigned and Nina Hall was terminated on October 6, 2014. Both were involved in the conviction of CEO Burrell Ellis. CEO Burrell Ellis was convicted of one count of criminal attempt to commit theft by extortion and three counts of perjury on approximately July 8, 2015. View link – https://www.scribd.com/doc/212831368/Restore-Public-Trust-Ethics-Complaint
2. Elaine Boyer and Bob Lundsten complaint was filed April 3, 2014 (23 pages and 1492 views). Boyer pled guilty on September 3, 2014 to charges of mail and wire fraud. She was sentenced to 14 months in federal prison for defrauding DeKalb taxpayers and to pay $87,350 in restitution to the county. View link – https://www.scribd.com/doc/218015213/Commissioner-Elaine-Boyer-and-Bob-Lundsten-Ethics-Complaint
3. Sharon Barnes Sutton and Judy Brownlee complaint filed May 30, 2014 (33 pages and 1486 views). View link – https://www.scribd.com/doc/230079667/Commissioner-Sharon-Barnes-Sutton-and-Judy-Brownlee-Ethics-Complaint-and-Amendment

We intend to finish this process in our efforts to hold our elected officials accountable. We ask the taxpayers and voters to get more involved in our movement to root out corruption in DeKalb County. We ask everyone to review the Barnes Sutton attorney’s Motion to Stay, this press release, along with a timeline of actions we have taken in an attempt to hold Barnes Sutton and Brownlee accountable.

We are providing everyone with a timeline, dating back to the date of our original complaint which was May 30, 2014. Our intention in providing this timeline was to encourage the DeKalb Board of Ethics to take immediate steps to proceed post haste and take our requested actions so that public trust in our DeKalb County government is restored. We need no more delays and/or excuses that only favor the accused elected official, Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton. View the link – https://www.scribd.com/doc/289418235/Justice-Delayed-is-Justice-Denied-With-Barnes-Sutton-and-Brownlee-Timeline

View the AJC article written by Mark Niesse (11/10/2015), “Ethics case against DeKalb Commissioner Sutton put on hold” – http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/ethics-case-against-dekalb-commissioner-sutton-put/npKkM/

The timeline of our submittal of information and documents is as follows:
Sharon Barnes Sutton and Judy Brownlee Timeline and Documents

https://www.scribd.com/doc/289418235/Justice-Delayed-is-Justice-Denied-With-Barnes-Sutton-and-Brownlee-Timeline

Immediate Press Release – Justice Delayed is Justice Denied

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PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 12, 2015

FROM: Viola Davis, Co-Founder
Unhappy Taxpayer and Voter
CONTACT:
Phone: 770-256-0034
Email: UnhappyTaxpayers@gmail.com
Website: http://unhappytaxpayerandvoter.com

Justice Delayed is Justice Denied

“Justice Delayed is Justice Denied”, stated by William E. Gladstone, a British politician who served four terms as Prime Minister, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote “Justice Too Long Delayed is Justice Denied” in his letter from the Birmingham jail in 1963. As government watchdogs and community missionaries, it is our opinion that the ruling by Superior Court Judge Courtney Johnson to stay the ethics hearing scheduled for November 12, 2015 was based on inaccurate and misleading information that she received from Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton’s attorney, Dwight L. Thomas. We view this action to be nothing more than a delay tactic that denies the taxpayers and voters of DeKalb County justice.

We initially filed the ethics complaint against Barnes Sutton and her top aide, Judy Brownlee, on May 30, 2014 (not on or about March 27, 2015 as stated in Thomas’ motion) with the addition of the 1st amendment on June 10, 2014. We received the support of Restore DeKalb in our efforts to ensure transparency, ethics and accountability. We work with several coalitions to hold our elected officials accountable to remove this “Cloud of Corruption”. The complaint is over 17 months old.

Throughout 2014 and 2015 thus far, we have submitted many amendments and summaries to this complaint. Dwight Thomas stated in the motion that the Complainant, Viola Davis, was a “no show” without identifying the fact that a continuance for medical issues was requested within the time limit, not to mention the 1st and only continuance requested after waiting over 15+ months for the “preliminary hearing”. Thomas also stated that no evidence was presented, despite the fact that over 699 pages (total collective pages) of documentation was presented to the Board of Ethics, a majority of which was placed online with over 6,773 views (total collective views).

It is unfortunate that the most protected position in this “right to work” state of Georgia is the taxpayers’ funded position called “elected officials”. This complaint demonstrates the tactics used to demean taxpayers and voters who attempt to hold elected officials accountable and/or attempt to petition the government.

Our original complaint is online and has over 1,486 views – please view the link: http://www.scribd.com/doc/230079667/Commissioner-Sharon-Barnes-Sutton-and-Judy-Brownlee-Ethics-Complaint-and-Amendment.

To date, we have filed a total of three complaints in our attempt to hold DeKalb County elected officials and government staff accountable to include:

1. Kelvin Walton and Nina Hall complaint titled, “Restore Public Trust Ethics Complaint” was filed March 17, 2014 (15 pages and 3,049 views). Kelvin Walton resigned and Nina Hall was terminated on October 6, 2014. Both were involved in the conviction of CEO Burrell Ellis. CEO Burrell Ellis was convicted of one count of criminal attempt to commit theft by extortion and three counts of perjury on approximately July 8, 2015. View link – https://www.scribd.com/doc/212831368/Restore-Public-Trust-Ethics-Complaint
2. Elaine Boyer and Bob Lundsten complaint was filed April 3, 2014 (23 pages and 1492 views). Boyer pled guilty on September 3, 2014 to charges of mail and wire fraud. She was sentenced to 14 months in federal prison for defrauding DeKalb taxpayers and to pay $87,350 in restitution to the county. View link – https://www.scribd.com/doc/218015213/Commissioner-Elaine-Boyer-and-Bob-Lundsten-Ethics-Complaint
3. Sharon Barnes Sutton and Judy Brownlee complaint filed May 30, 2014 (33 pages and 1486 views). View link – https://www.scribd.com/doc/230079667/Commissioner-Sharon-Barnes-Sutton-and-Judy-Brownlee-Ethics-Complaint-and-Amendment

We intend to finish this process in our efforts to hold our elected officials accountable. We ask the taxpayers and voters to get more involved in our movement to root out corruption in DeKalb County. We ask everyone to review the Barnes Sutton attorney’s Motion to Stay, this press release, along with a timeline of actions we have taken in an attempt to hold Barnes Sutton and Brownlee accountable.

We are providing everyone with a timeline, dating back to the date of our original complaint which was May 30, 2014. Our intention in providing this timeline was to encourage the DeKalb Board of Ethics to take immediate steps to proceed post haste and take our requested actions so that public trust in our DeKalb County government is restored. We need no more delays and/or excuses that only favor the accused elected official, Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton. View the link – https://www.scribd.com/doc/289418235/Justice-Delayed-is-Justice-Denied-With-Barnes-Sutton-and-Brownlee-Timeline

View the AJC article written by Mark Niesse (11/10/2015), “Ethics case against DeKalb Commissioner Sutton put on hold” – http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/ethics-case-against-dekalb-commissioner-sutton-put/npKkM/

The timeline of our submittal of information and documents is as follows:
Sharon Barnes Sutton and Judy Brownlee Timeline

a. May 30, 2014 and June 10, 2014 – Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton and Judy Brownlee Ethics Complaint and Amendment – (33 pages and 1354 views); this is the original ethics complaint with an amendment submitted with the support of Joel Edwards, Willie Pringle, Sandra Holmes and Viola Davis. The complaint was uploaded to the Internet 6/17/2014.

b. June 17, 2014 – Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton and Judy Brownlee Ethics Complaints and Amendment – Document 1 – (27 pages and 152 views); Published online 6/17/2014.
c. June 17, 2014 – Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton and Judy Brownlee Ethics Complaint and Amendment Document 2 – (67 pages and 113 views). This was supporting documentation and evidence on the complaint and published online 6/17/2014.
d. June 26, 2014 – Sharon Barnes Sutton and Judy Brownlee Final P-cards – Doc Spending by District 4 – (25 pages and 139 views); Full print out of the purchases on the p-card for the public to see and published online 6/26/2014.

e. July 10, 2014 – Documentation on Monica Parrott’s Open Records Request for Official Government Information regarding Commissioner Kathie Gannon – (24 pages and 734 views); published online July 11, 2014.
f. October 10, 2014 – Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton and Judy Brownlee Ethics Complaint and Amendment II – (81 pages and 124 views) – Summary of information the ethics board’s investigator requested during a telephone conversation concerning Barnes Sutton and Brownlee ethics complaint. We expanded the complaint to include voting on contracts when Barnes Sutton’s immediate family member worked for the company. Published online 10/11/2014.

g. October 11, 2014 – Conflict of Interest and Ethics Complaint against Sharon Barnes Sutton and Judy Brownlee – (21 pages and 27 views) – the document was published online October 11, 2014 as a private document. This document has copies of the contracts printed on the Board of Commissioner’s agenda that Barnes Sutton voted on.
h. October 23, 2014 – Restore Public Trust Memorandum to the FBI, GBI and Inspector General – (9 pages and 1093 views) – published online 10/23/2014.

i. October 25, 2014 – DeKalb County P-Card Audit: Sharon Barnes Sutton – (22 pages and 948 views) – published online 10/25/2014.
j. November 1, 2014 – 2nd Amendment to the Code of Ethics Complaint Filed against Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton and Judy Brownlee – (7 pages and 122 views); published online 11/19/2014.

k. December 3, 2014 – Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton Documents and Copies of Checks to Companies without a Business License – (71 pages and 27 views) – published online 12/3/2014.
l. December 3, 2014 – Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton Document 2 on $10,000 Check – (4 pages and 136 views); published online 12/3/2014.

m. December 19, 2014 – Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton’s New Ethics Complaint of Alleged Malfeasance – (95 pages and 144 views); published online 12/19/2014.
n. Interim CEO Lee May Requests Independent Auditor in 60 Days – (8 pages and 285 views) – published online 1/18/2015.

o. January 8, 2015 – Restore Public Trust Memorandum to the DeKalb County Board of Ethics, FBI, GBI and/or Inspector General to Expand the Investigation for Possible RICO Violations – the document was delivered to multiple law enforcement agencies and the Board of Ethics. However, the document was not placed online.
p. March 3, 2015 – DeKalb County Board of Ethics requested a comprehensive report detailing and summarizing the ethics complaint against Sharon Barnes Sutton and Judy Brownlee.

q. March 27, 2015 – A comprehensive report detailing and summarizing the ethics complaint against Sharon Barnes Sutton and Judy Brownlee was submitted to the DeKalb County Board of Ethics with attachments and supporting evidence/documentation. On March 27, 2015, we hand delivered the requested document to the DeKalb County Clerk, Barbara Sanders.
r. May 4, 2015 – The Board of Ethics was emailed an update on the Barnes Sutton and Brownlee ethics complaint with multiple attachments to include:
i. Summary of the Ethics Complaint against Sharon Barnes Sutton and Judy Brownlee with Code and Law Violations (44 pages) – published online 7/26/2015.
ii. Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton and RightThink Associates Multiple Charges/Payments – Part 1 (12 pages) – published online 7/26/2015.
iii. Judy Brownlee Alleged Falsified Documents – Part 2 (16 pages) – published online 7/26/2015.
iv. Summary of the Investigative Report on Elaine Boyer (43 pages) – highlight the statements regarding Sharon Barnes Sutton and Judy Brownlee given by Boyer; published online 7/26/2015.
s. May 14, 2015 – DeKalb County Board of Ethics meeting was cancelled. The ethics complaint against Barnes Sutton and Brownlee continue to be listed on the agenda under status report – pending matters.
t. May 20, 2015 – Government Watchdog files complaint with Attorney General of Georgia concerning Barnes Sutton’s and others refusal to answer Open Records Requests. (26 pages with 560 views)
u. May 29, 2015 – Ethics Board informed Sharon Barnes Sutton’s attorney of a preliminary hearing to be held on June 22, 2015.

v. June 5, 2015 – Sharon Barnes Sutton’s attorney, Quinton Washington, filed a motion to withdraw as counsel for Barnes Sutton because she failed to comply with the terms of representation.
w. June 17, 2015 – Five days prior to the schedule Board of Ethics meeting, Attorney Dwight Thomas informed the Board of Ethics and complainant that he was retained to represent Sharon Barnes Sutton; however, Thomas requested a continuance to a mid-September, 2015 date. He stated his request for a continuance was due to recent medical issues and the need to review and prepare.

x. June 22, 2015 – DeKalb County June 22, 2015 Ethics Board meeting cancelled due to the fact that proper legal notice was not issued through DeKalb County Communications, even though the Ethics Board supplied the agenda in a timely manner. Preliminary hearings for complaints against Barnes Sutton and Brownlee were on the agenda.
y. July 27, 2015 – DeKalb County Ethics Board July 27, 2015 meeting cancelled due to lack of a quorum. Preliminary hearings for complaints against Barnes Sutton and Brownlee were on the agenda.

i. Summary of the Ethics Complaint against Sharon Barnes Sutton and Judy Brownlee with Code and Law Violations (44 pages with 8 views) – published online 7/26/2015.
ii. Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton and RightThink Associates Multiple Charges/Payments – Part 1 (12 pages with 8 views) – published online 7/26/2015.
iii. Judy Brownlee Alleged Falsified Documents – Part 2 (16 pages) – published online 7/26/2015.
iv. Summary of the Investigative Report on Elaine Boyer (43 pages with 22 views) – highlight the statements regarding Sharon Barnes Sutton and Judy Brownlee given by Boyer; published online 7/26/2015.

z. July 31, 2015 – 3rd Comprehensive Report and Summary of the Ethics Complaint against Barnes Sutton and Brownlee
aa. August 09, 2015 – 3rd Comprehensive Report and Summary of the Ethics Complaint against Barnes Sutton and Brownlee (published online 8/09/2015, 18 pages with 299 views)
bb. August 13, 2015 – PowerPoint Presentation – Restore Public Trust Complaint on Commissioner Barnes Sutton and Judy Brownlee – request to expand the RICO Investigation and Criminal Forensic Audit. (46 pages with 468 views)
cc. August 14, 2015 – Georgia Chidi published an article titled, “DeKalb: No One Watches the Watchmen”. Chidi writes in detail the frustration experienced by Viola Davis and Joel Edwards concerning the ethics complaints filed and the lack of accountability/enforcement.
dd. August 14, 2015 – John Ernst resigned his position as Chairman and member of the DeKalb County Board of Ethics. (1 page with 871 views)
ee. September 11, 2015 – Gene Chapman, attorney for the Board of Ethics, inform Viola Davis and Joel Edwards of a preliminary hearing set for September 22, 2015 regarding the complaint against Commissioner Sutton.
ff. September 12, 2015 – Viola Davis requested a continuance until the month of November. (Request made within time limit)
gg. September 14, 2015 – Viola Davis answered Gene Chapman’s request concerning the complaint against both Barnes Sutton and Brownlee evidenced by reminding everyone that the board agreed to hear both cases together due to a 15+ month wait for the initial preliminary hearing. We also stated the fact that we have not made one request for a continuance since the complaint was initially filed, despite the multiple delays our total three cases have endured.
hh. September 22, 2015 – Preliminary Hearing for Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton continues to be heard despite our request for our 1st and only continuance after 15+ months of delays. Sutton waived a preliminary hearing and the Board of Ethics found probable cause to continue its review of several allegations against her aide, Judy Brownlee.
ii. September 30, 2015 – Special Investigators Michael Bowers and Richard Hyde delivered a 40 page report to ICEO Lee May. In this report, it is stated that Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton paid her law firm with taxpayers’ money to represent her on personal tax and car payment matters.
jj. October 2015 – No hearing held for Davis and Edwards.
kk. November 1, 2015 – We requested a subpoena for the director and other employees from the Clerk’s Office of the CEO/Commissioners, owner of MME, Judy Brownlee, and Kelvin Walton.

i. We forward additional attachments from an Open Records Request that have audits dating back to 2010-2011 and a comprehensive audit of the p-cards dated 2013 that proves that District 4 Commissioner Barnes Sutton willfully misused the p-card and violated the law. See attachment 1,2,3,4 and Excel Spreadsheet 2010-3-26 Open Records Request for Atlanta Unfiltered.
ii. We have the Excel spreadsheet that shows multiple payments of the $20,000 for a total of $60,000 to RightThink. We need these documents forwarded to the FBI, GBI and District Attorney for further follow up.
iii. We also have the county’s policy on conflict of interest. We want to place the document into the records for our cases.

ll. November 2, 2015 – Dwight L. Thomas, attorney for Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton, sent a letter to Gene Chapman, counsel for the Board of Ethics, explaining his intent to challenge the Board of Ethic’s procedures and authority in a court. Thomas stated he believes the Board of Ethic to be an unconstitutional delegation of power by the local legislation of DeKalb County.
mm. November 3, 2015 – Victor Hartman, investigator to DeKalb County Board of Ethics, submitted a witness list for Viola Davis, Joel Edwards, Rhea Johnson, Natasha Kennedy, Cornelia Louis, Wayne Williams, and himself.
nn. November 5, 2015 – Dwight L. Thomas, attorney for Plaintiff Sharon Barnes Sutton, asked the ethics board to subpoena and/or call Warren Mosby, Michael Sutton, and O.H. Plunkett per witness list.

i. Dwight Thomas filed a Writ of Prohibition: Mandamus and Verified Complaint for Declaratory Judgment, Preliminary and Permanent Injunctive Relief.
ii. Thomas claims the complaint was filed March 27, 2015. However, the initial complaint was actually filed May 30, 2014 and the 1st amendment was filed June 10, 2014.
iii. Thomas claims Viola Davis, Community Missionary representing Unhappy Taxpayers, was a no show and presented no evidence to support the complaint. Thomas neglected to state the fact that a continuance was requested. This was the 1st and only continuance requested over the entire 15+ month period. (Justice Delayed is Justice Denied)
iv. Where is Equal Protection under the LAW?

oo. November 9, 2015 at 9:41pm – Vic Hartman informed Viola Davis, Joel Edwards and Rhea Johnson the hearing scheduled for November 12, 2015 was cancelled.
pp. November 10, 2015 – Gene Chapman explained the cancellation was due to a challenge to the Board’s procedure and authority in a court.
qq. November 11, 2015 – Immediate Press Release issued titled, Justice Delayed is Justice Denied” with a timeline of over 16+ months of legal and procedural delays to remove transparency, ethics and accountability from the taxpayers and voters of DeKalb County.

In conclusion:
The 3rd summary of the ethics complaint against Barnes Sutton and Brownlee was presented on July 31, 2015 for the purpose of requesting no more delays on moving forward on these complaints. Thus far, we have presented complaints that have enough evidence to warrant criminal investigations. We have presented complaints that are factual, well researched and command results. There are those who claim we must end these cases for the county to move forward. However, how can we end cases that have not ever “really been opened”.

Public trust and confidence in the integrity of our governing authority is at an all-time low. Laws, with respect to conduct of members of our governing authority, are established to protect against conflicts, criminal activity, wrongdoing and malfeasance.

In order to restore trust and confidence in our county government, the “Cloud of Corruption” must be removed and we respectfully implore you, the FBI, GBI, District Attorney and DeKalb County Board of Ethics to take immediate action.

Once again, we have presented enough documentation and evidence to have this case classified as a RICO case. We also need a criminal forensic audit. If you have questions or require additional information, I can be contacted at the phone and/or email listed below.

Respectfully presented,

Viola Davis
Community Missionary

https://www.scribd.com/doc/289418235/Justice-Delayed-is-Justice-Denied-With-Barnes-Sutton-and-Brownlee-Timeline

DeKalb County Email Secrets

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DeKalb County Email Secrets
By Viola Davis, November 1, 2015

Unhappy Taxpayer & Voter submitted an Open Records Request to DeKalb County, October 2014, for several email accounts from the Purchasing and Contracting Department, particularly the emails from the prior director, Kelvin Walton.

We were eventually forced to file a complaint with the state Attorney General (twice) before the Open Records Request was answered. DeKalb County handed over seven discs containing over 20,000 emails.

Several emails will reveal the public was intentionally misled. We have found emails described as “smoking guns” that will show elected officials were informed of policies, procedures, deficiencies, corrective actions on the issues of the purchasing cards (p-cards).

We have emails that reveal the destruction of government documents, auditors being forced to leave premises, and claims of bid-rigging, etc.
Investigators with Unhappy Taxpayer & Voter obtained emails through an Open Records Request that revealed information on serious issues involving the following:

1. Repair of Lee May’s Home
2. Destruction of government documents and bid-rigging
3. District Attorney purchasing card (p-card) audit and deficiencies dated 2010
4. District Attorney’s assistant, Clarissa Brown, and the forfeiture account
5. DeKalb County Sheriff’s office made auditors leave the premises dated 12/30/2011
6. Liens against DeKalb County and claims of violation of False Claims Act
7. Browns Mill Aquatic Center company’s contract and violations

We will present the emails in seven attachments for the public to review for themselves.

Enclosures: Attachments 1-7

We have emails that reveal the destruction of government documents, auditors being forced to leave premises, and claims of bid-rigging, etc. We have media links that relate to the DeKalb County emails listed below.

1. Repair of Lee May’s Home

a. ICEO Lee May’s Home Repair made public 1/8/2015 – http://unhappytaxpayerandvoter.com/iceo-lee-mays-home-repair-made-public-january-8-2015/

b. Channel 2 Investigation reveals possible kickback to DeKalb officials – http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/ch-2-investigation-reveals-possible-kickback-dekal/nk3Rn/

c. Investigators probing $4K check want DeKalb CEO May’s emails – http://www.myajc.com/news/news/local/investigators-probing-4k-check-want-dekalb-ceo-may/nnWm3/

d. Interim DeKalb CEO under FBI investigation – http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/interim-dekalb-ceo-under-fbi-investigation/nk2nH/

e. Search warrants issued for DeKalb CEO Mays emails – http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/search-warrants-issued-for-dekalb-ceo-may-and-othe/nnWdM/


2. Destruction of government documents and bid-rigging

a. Grand Jury alleges widespread DeKalb corruption – http://www.ajc.com/news/news/breaking-news/grand-jury-alleges-dekalb-widespread-corruption/nZYZZ/

b. Grand Jury Testimony – https://youtu.be/uwRlXHtIA-k

c. Whistleblower – Corruption in DeKalb: https://youtu.be/eeFVK9mcJgk

d. Whistleblower against DeKalb employees believes he was targeted – http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/whistleblower-against-dekalb-employees-believes-he/nYyxx/

3. District Attorney purchasing card (p-card) audit and deficiencies dated 2010

a. DeKalb County Commissioners: “We need ethics training” – http://www.cbs46.com/story/30197995/dekalb-county-commissioners-we-need-ethics-training

b. DeKalb DA James will repay county for meal expenses – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uo4H8BJr05o

c. DeKalb DA double-bills taxpayers for expensive meal – http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/dekalb-da-double-bills-taxpayers-expensive-meal/nn7Pm/

d. DeKalb employee (Bob Lundsten) indicted on 9 felony count – http://www.11alive.com/story/news/local/decatur/2015/04/16/robert-lundsten-indicted-9-felonies/25881691/

e. Former DeKalb commissioner’s chief of staff (Bob Lundsten) indicted for theft – http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/former-commissioners-chief-staff-indicted-theft/nkwWG/

f. Channel 2 Investigation finds retail spending, few receipts – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6ewXxfgyiw

g. Commissioner Resigns – https://youtu.be/t9zm-LVDnMo

4. District Attorney’s assistant, Clarissa Brown, and the forfeiture account

Media links not available

5. DeKalb County Sheriff’s office made auditors leave the premises dated 12/30/2011

https://www.scribd.com/doc/288128601/DeKalb-County-Email-Secrets-Attachment-5

https://www.scribd.com/doc/288128601/DeKalb-County-Email-Secrets-Attachment-5

Media links not available

6. Liens against DeKalb County and claims of violation of False Claims Act

a. 2 Investigates: County admits poor job overseeing government program – http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/2-investigates-county-admits-poor-job-overseeing-g/nmGr2/
b. Kelvin Walton resigns amid federal investigation – http://www.wsbtv.com/videos/news/kelvin-walton-resigns-amid-federal-investigation/vCwjhD/
c. 2 DeKalb officials accused of accepting bribes placed on administrative leave – http://www.wsbtv.com/videos/news/kelvin-walton-resigns-amid-federal-investigation/vCwjhD/
d. DeKalb official refuses to answer 343 questions – http://m.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/dekalb-official-refuses-answer-343-questions-fear-/nfDKt/
e. Burrell Ellis’ former secretary takes stand in trial (invokes 5th Amendment) – http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/secretary-takes-5th-corruption-case-fearing-briber/nhSHh/

7. Browns Mill Aquatic Center company’s contract and violations

a. Brown Mills Incident – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdJcJ-fimvQ
b. Teen survivor of near drowning shares his story- http://www.cbs46.com/story/29486911/teen-survivor-of-near-drowning-shares-his-story
c. Witness says lifeguard at county pool couldn’t swim – http://www.11alive.com/story/news/local/2015/06/24/near-drowning-dekalb-pools-lifeguards/29196173/
d. County missing lifeguard certifications during near drowning – http://thechampionnewspaper.com/news/local/county-missing-lifeguard-certifications-during-near-drowning/

ICEO Lee May’s Home Repair Made Public January 8, 2015

ICEO Lee May’s home repair was made public January 8, 2015. See page 7 of 8 section IV which states: It is alleged that a Commissioner’s personal property was repaired with taxpayers’ money.

View Channel 2 Investigation Reveals possible kickback to DeKalb Officials – http://m.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/ch-2-investigation-reveals-possible-kickback-dekal/nk3Rn/ http://m.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/ch-2-investigation-reveals-possible-kickback-dekal/nk3Rn/

Thank you to Jodie Fleischer and Johnny Edwards for excellent investigative work and reporting!

We have spent over four years gathering documentation to expose violations of policy and procedure as well as alleged criminal activity. The primary method to verify our allegations is to expand the FBI, GBI, and Inspector General investigations to include a criminal third party forensic audit into four departments to include:

1. Purchasing and Contracting
2. Public Works
3. IT and IS
4. Watershed
5. LSBE program and the NSP funding

As a watchdog group, we have focused on protecting the taxpayers’ money to ensure transparency, ethics and accountability. We strive to motivate the Board of Commissioners and the Interim CEO of DeKalb County to write and enforce executive policies and procedures that protect taxpayers’ money from mismanagement, waste, abuse and alleged criminal activity. Our actions over the years have focused on our mission pledged to the taxpayers and voters of DeKalb County, Georgia.

It’s time for us to come to the reality that this local government has been in a crisis for far too long. As a watchdog group, we have complained for years about a “cloud of corruption” that gives DeKalb County a bad reputation as well as a black eye hindering economic development and decreasing public trust.

We are requesting a full criminal third party forensic audit to expose the “true” financial picture, shortfalls, and alleged criminal activity within the Watershed, Public Works Department, IT and Purchasing and Contracting Department. We need an answer to the question, “Is there criminal activity that should be prosecuted”?

Until we place restoring public trust as a top priority, taxpayers, property owners, homeowners and business owners recommend the Board of Commissioners immediately demonstrate the value they place in restoring public trust in our local government by enacting the following changes:

• Establish and fund an Internal Auditor.
• Creation of a new anti-corruption unit within the DeKalb Police Department, in concert with the FBI and GBI.
• Support the Board of Ethics and maintain its independence.

We are requesting the FBI, GBI and Inspector General expand their investigations into alleged criminal activity, wrongdoing, and malfeasance to include Kelvin Walton and Nina Hall as well as staff members in the Purchasing and Contracting Department, Public Works Department, IT and Watershed.

Once again, we request RICO classification.

DeKalb Water Main Break: An After Action Report To Prevent Past Errors

dekalb water main pic

DEKALB WATER MAIN BREAK: AN AFTER ACTION REPORT

BY VIOLA DAVIS

DeKalb residents and businesses learned the hard way with the recent water main break and boil water advisory the reason our county must finance infrastructure upgrades. However, the general public needs to understand in laymen’s term how small errors in the recent water main break created a countywide crisis.

We met with the owner of GS Construction, Alessandro Salvo, in February 2015 concerning an issue and conflict with specification W-019 on covering the water main after repair with Watershed and Capital Improvement Project (CIP) administrators.
Salvo started warning DeKalb early in the year of potential problems with the installation of water mains using #57 stone as bedding and backfill. However, the warnings were met with acts of retaliation such as multiple inspections, slow payment, bad references and mischaracterization of the private business to another county, etc.

We wrote a report on the specifications on water main installation and requested a meeting to avoid legal actions, harm to the public and poor media exposure. The report was addressed to ICEO Lee May and Executive Administrator Zachary Williams. We are writing this article in an attempt to explain, in layman terms, the past errors and warnings the general public must know about the water main break to prevent future water main breaks that create countywide crisis to include:

1. What set up the crisis? The following factors are alleged:

a. The biggest factor is the status of the water system itself.
b. There are 5 large mains leaving the Scott Candler Treatment plant.
c. The 5 large mains are as follows:

1. 30” Tilly Mill >Peachtree Corner>Claremont
2. 30” Tilly Mill>under old GM plant>N. Peachtree
3. 54” P’tree industrial to Winters Chapel
4. 48” P’tree industrial>Winters Chapel >Chamblee Tucker>Mercer Univ.
5. 48” Oakdale>N. Crest >Chamblee Tucker>Henderson Mill>Northlake

d. Only 1 of these 5 mains is functioning properly, #4. Number 4 is the main (water main) that caused the crisis last month.
e. The problems with the 4 water mains, 1, 2, 3 and 5, are as follows:

1. #1 has valves turned off and all indications are that the County does not know which valves, nor where they are.
2. #2 has been shut down for some time due to a slip lining failure. It’s the famous line that had a lane of I-85 shut down for months last year.
3. #3 has valves turned off and all indications are that the County does not know which valves nor where they are.
4. #5 has valves turned off and all indications are that the County does not know which valves nor where they are.

f. The proof that there are multiple valves shut off is the fact that the entire County lost water when #4 water main was depressurized.
g. If the system was functioning properly we should have been able to isolate the section at Henderson Mill and Evans for repair while the other mains rerouted the water to the rest of the County.

2. What is the County doing to address this issue? Time to ask questions and demand results.

3. What amplified July’s hydrant hit into a countywide crises? It is alleged:

a. County crews lacked experience working with these particularly difficult conditions.
b. County crews were sent out with inadequate equipment.

1. No shoring equipment;
2. Excavator was too small to reach down to the shutoff valve;
3. County supplied pumps failed. More than 10 pumps were brought to the site including 2 $70,000 8” Thompson pumps. 7 of the 10 pumps were useless, including the 8” pumps.
4. Bureaucratic decision to re-pressurize the main before the valve could be reached, causing considerably more damage than was necessary.

4. Warning: poor water main maintenance, lack of industry knowledge, poor working equipment and poor leadership will make water main repair problems more frequent and the “norm” instead of the exception. It is alleged:

a. We are one errant tunnel bore, one excavator bucket away from an even larger crisis. If a contractor who is drilling/boring or a contractor excavating strikes the 48” main then that will be the beginning of another huge crisis. We will be without running water for God knows how long while it is repaired.
b. If the only fully functioning transmission main #4 is actually struck, the County will be without water for days while it is repaired.
c. In addition, during the repair, the entire County water system will be completely drained.
d. This will cause an even bigger health crisis than the last time.
e. Many portions of the line will have to be sanitized before they will be safe, costing taxpayers’ huge amounts of money.
f. Re-pressurizing of the entire system will cause multiple line breaks that will need to be repaired at great expense.

5. Having thousands of residents and businesses in DeKalb County sitting in this dangerous situation while the County plays political games and favorites with the Watershed department is irresponsible.

6. We immediately need proper leadership at Watershed Management.

7. It is alleged that the last experienced man left at Watershed is XXXX XXXXX. He will be retiring in December. He is the most qualified man for the position based on his experience level with the County water system. Every effort should be made to retain his services.

https://www.scribd.com/doc/276025761/DeKalb-Water-Main-Break-An-After-Action-Report-to-Prevent-Past-Errors

https://www.scribd.com/doc/276025761/DeKalb-Water-Main-Break-An-After-Action-Report-to-Prevent-Past-Errors

Why Was Michael Bowers’ Name Removed as Lead Special Investigator on the 2nd Executive Order

Why Was Michael Bowers’ Name removed as Lead Special Investigator on the 2nd Executive Order?

The difference between ICEO Lee May’s Executive Order No. 2015-1 (1st Executive Order) and 2015-2 (2nd Executive Order)
By Viola Davis, August 9, 2015

Executive Order 2015-1, the 1st Executive Order, had the following language removed from the 2nd executive order. Michael J. Bowers’ name is not mentioned anywhere on the 2nd executive order. Please compare the major differences between the two documents.

In the 1st Executive Order, Michael J. Bowers and Richard L. Hyde’s names are listed as Special Investigators. The law firm of Balch & Bingham, LLP is also named in the 1st executive order. However, Bowers’ name and the law firm was removed from the 2nd executive order. See the language below:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Lee N. May, Chief Executive Officer of DeKalb County, Georgia, in consideration of the aforementioned, do hereby appoint Michael J. Bowers and Richard L. Hyde as Special Investigators to provide a thorough systematic review of DeKalb County Government policies and procedures to identify any conflicts of interest, corruption or malfeasance and make specific recommendations in an effort to improve county operations, restore our image and the public’s trust in county government and order as follows:

1. The Special Investigators shall be independent and shall be appointed for a term, not less than 120 days, subject to extensions by the Chief Executive Officer necessitated by the findings of the Special Investigators. The Special Investigators shall be assisted by the law firm of Balch & Bingham, LLP or others they deem necessary to carry out their duties as Special Investigators.

The actions the Special Investigator shall perform were changed. The language from (a) through (f) were removed from the 2nd executive order. Please view the language (a) through (f) below:

a. Evaluate the need to establish an Inspector General office or a similar government position;

b. Review internal investigation protocols;

c. Review the County’s internal controls (Enterprise Risk Management);

d. Review personnel policies and procedures to ensure proper hiring practices;

e. Review the County’s financial controls to ensure the Finance and Budget Departments are achieving their objectives;

f. Review the DeKalb County Ethics Code and other existing county oversight mechanisms to ensure that the county is operating with the highest ethical standards;

The responsibilities of current officials and employees under the authority of the Chief Executive Officer were completely removed from the 2nd executive order. See the language that was removed below:

4. Responsibilities of current officials and employees under the authority of the Chief Executive Officer:

a. In addition to any other reporting obligations, promptly report to the Special Investigators any information concerning corruption, fraud, criminal activity, conflicts of interest or of other allegations of misconduct in DeKalb County government;

b. Interference with, obstruction of or dishonesty with the Special Investigators, or their designees, by an official or employee of DeKalb County Government under the direction of the Chief Executive Officer may constitute cause for disciplinary action, up to and including removal from office or employment or other appropriate penalty;

c. Prior to any such questioning, the official or employee, upon request, shall be afforded a reasonable period of time to obtain legal representation at his or her own cost;

d. No official or employee who complies with this directive shall be subject to retaliatory dismissal, discipline or other adverse personnel action, based upon a truthful report.

The penalty phase was removed from the 2nd executive order:

The refusal of any official or employee to answer questions or to fully cooperate with the Special Investigators may be cause for disciplinary action, up to and including removal from office or employment or other appropriate penalty.

The fees due to be paid to Mr. Bowers and all his attorneys were removed from the 2nd executive order. View the language below:

a. The Special Investigators shall be paid for this investigation as follows: Mr. Bowers and all attorneys will bill at a flat rate of $400 per hour; Mr. Hyde and all investigators, at a flat rate of $300 per hour. Paralegals will bill at $150 per hour. The Special Investigators will submit a monthly report to the Chief Executive Officer detailing the hours worked by individual and by task; this report shall include all expenses of the investigation incurred to date.

In Executive Order 2015-2 (2nd Executive Order), Richard L. Hyde’s name is mentioned as the Special Investigator and Michael J. Bowers’ name is removed. The law firm of Balch & Bingham, LLP was also removed. View the new language below:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Lee N. May, Chief Executive Officer of DeKalb County, Georgia, in consideration of the aforementioned, do hereby appoint Richard L. Hyde as Special Investigator to provide a thorough systematic review of DeKalb County Government policies and procedures to identify any conflicts of interest, corruption or malfeasance and make specific recommendations in an effort to improve county operations, restore our image and the public’s trust in county government and order as follows:

The 2nd Executive Order had the following language added to include:

A. Prior to any questioning by the Special Investigator or his assistants, the official or employee, upon request, shall be afforded a reasonable period of time to obtain legal representation at his or her own cost;

B. When an employee is requested to give information or participate in an interview, the employee shall be apprised through signing an agreement of his or her right to remain silent; that anything said may be used against him or her in both a criminal or administrative proceeding; and that he or she cannot be disciplined for remaining silent.

The effective date was changed:

a. This Executive Order shall take effect immediately upon signature and publication. This Executive Order, along with Executive Order No. 2015-1, supersedes and replaces the Executive Order issued on March 18, 2015.

We placed copies of both Executive Orders online for the public to review. Once we have copies of the funds paid to the Special Investigators, we will post copies of the checks.

If you have any questions, please email us at UnhappyTaxpayers@gmail.com.

https://www.scribd.com/doc/274036681/Why-Was-Michael-Bowers-Name-Removed-as-Lead-Special-Investigator-on-the-2nd-Executive-Order

https://www.scribd.com/doc/274036681/Why-Was-Michael-Bowers-Name-Removed-as-Lead-Special-Investigator-on-the-2nd-Executive-Order

Investigators called DeKalb County Government, “Rotten to the Core”

CBS46 News

Investigators called DeKalb County Government, “Rotten to the Core”
BY VIOLA DAVIS, AUGUST 8, 2015

Special Investigators, former Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers and Richard Hyde, called DeKalb County Government “rotten to the Core”. The investigators were appointed by county Interim CEO Lee May in March 2015 to identify any conflict of interest, corruption or malfeasance and make specific recommendations in an effort to improve county operations, restore our image and the public’s trust in county government.

In June 2015, ICEO Lee May suspended use of county-issued VISA purchasing cards (P-cards) for most of the current users due to preliminary findings from special investigators, Bowers and Hyde. According to an article in CrossroadsNews.com, ICEO May received a preliminary summary by the investigators outlining examples of dubious expenses charges to the county with no apparent direct benefit to county government and/or with no justification or explanation given. Some of the examples as follows:

• Improper use of tax exempt status;
• Purchases of unauthorized items, as outlined in the current policy;
• Splitting purchases to circumvent the county’s $1,000 per transaction limit;
• International airline tickets;
• Dance lessons;
• Personal membership dues paid to various non-mandatory bar associations and other private organizations;
• Self-aggrandizing “donations” made to non-profits and charities;
• Purchases of unauthorized computers and related items.

On August 5th, Bowers and Hyde delivered an investigative update to ICEO Lee May and the DeKalb Board of Commissioners. In the letter, Investigators say they conducted scores of interviews and looked at several hundred thousand documents, including over 40 thousand individual P-card transactions. They stated the extent of P-Card abuse and misuse is astounding. The Special Investigators made note of several improper expenditures which include:

• Employees spent public funds on a cruise to the Bahamas, flower arrangements, a live guitar player, a Christmas tree and a dry cleaning bill for a judge’s robe, according to the investigators.
• The county awarded sole-source contracts despite there being many other qualified vendors available to perform the same work, at a much lower cost to the county.
• Taxpayer funds were routinely used to buy liquor, catered meals, candy, popcorn and pretzels filled with peanut butter for elected officials, department heads and staff members. The county’s own internal auditors have reported this improper spending over the years.
• A high-level official wrecked a county-owned vehicle, causing substantial damage, and then failed to follow proper procedure for reporting the accident.

• In one case, taxpayers paid the impound fee for a county-owned vehicle after an employee was arrested for DUI. The employee resigned and then was rehired after pleading guilty. The public has also paid for traffic fines and toll road penalties.

• Thefts of county property have been covered-up and mishandled. In one case the police were not notified and the thief still draws a paycheck from the county.
• In the last few days, they have found what appears to be a bribery scheme involving a major county department.

According to the AJC, Commissioner Nancy Jester says “things are very bad in DeKalb County; this is not a perception problem. This is a real problem.” Commissioner Jester says the findings are shocking. She says people need to be held accountable. “We need to hold people’s feet to the fire on this. Taxpayers are harmed and we won’t stop wasting money until we root out this corruption.”

ICEO Lee May’s Response to Bowers and Hyde’s Letter

“I wholeheartedly disagree with the opinion that DeKalb County is rotten to the core. The overwhelming majority of DeKalb County employees are honest, decent, hard-working, and committed to public service.

We were aware of the underlying issues mentioned in Mr. Bowers’ letter. That is why we hired him to conduct a comprehensive review of county government operations to identify corruption, fraud, criminal activity, conflicts of interest, or abuse; with a report in 120 days.

The 120 days has come and gone, and it appears the only thing we have to show for it is a 2-page letter full of salacious – but vague – innuendo.

I was informed by Mr. Bowers today that a detailed report will be issued in 3 weeks that will provide me with a road map to reduce our risk exposure to waste, fraud and abuse.”

Lee May
Interim CEO, DeKalb County Government

https://www.scribd.com/doc/273991035/Michael-Bowers-and-Richard-Hyde-s-August-5th-and-June-2nd-Preliminary-Findings

https://www.scribd.com/doc/273991035/Michael-Bowers-and-Richard-Hyde-s-August-5th-and-June-2nd-Preliminary-Findings