Immediate Press Release – Justice Delayed is Justice Denied
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 12, 2015
FROM: Viola Davis, Co-Founder
Unhappy Taxpayer and Voter
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.
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.