sandra holmes

Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton and Judy Brownlee Ethics Complaint and Amendment

unhappy taxpayer and voter logo1

barnes sutton head shot


DATE: 6/17/2014

I, Viola Davis and Restore DeKalb submit this 1st amendment to the ethics complaint filed against Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton (District 4) for the following violations:

(1) Violation of the DeKalb County Code of Ethics
(2) Violation of Oath of Office
(3) Violation of the Public’s Trust
(4) Violation of the Law (alleged)
(5) Conflict of Interest

I also submit this Ethics Complaint against Judy Brownlee, Commissioner’s Sharon Barnes Sutton’s top aide, for violations of the DeKalb County government’s Code of Ethics.

The conduct, prohibited by the DeKalb County Code of Ethics, that Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton and Judy Brownlee violated include:

• Directly or indirectly request, receive, or agree to receive anything of value which may influence or be perceived to influence, the member’s official actions.
• Use his/her position to secure unwarranted privileges for himself or herself;
• Engage in any activity or transaction that is prohibited by a law that is applicable to him/her by virtue of being a member of the governing authority;
• Etc. (Any other violations that the Ethics Board may find)

I have asked for the support of Restore DeKalb which includes Joel Edwards. We issue this ethics complaint to ensure there is transparency, ethics, and accountability in DeKalb County government. We have joined as a coalition to hold elected officials accountable for violating the public’s trust. We will welcome other taxpayers and voters who strive to restore public trust once we have the vote of the executive accountability board.

I will use the following documentation and video as evidence:

1. The AJC article, “Officials spend with little oversight”, by Johnny Edwards (May 25, 2014) – Mr. Edwards did an excellent article in the AJC which provided the following evidence to demonstrate Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton violated the Code of Ethics and included evidence below:

• Sharon Barnes Sutton’s P-card purchases
• Sharon Barnes Sutton’s cardholder agreement
• Sharon Barnes Sutton’s P-card travel agreement
• Audit of District 4 Purchase Card use
• Criminal Trespass and Simple Battery Police Report
• Open Records Request Documentation on Commission District 4 contract particularly with H.S.I Systems & Consultants, Inc., RightThink Associates, Inc., and Empowerment Planners and Consulting Group. (Conflict of Interest Section)

2. Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton and Judy Brownlee (according to the above article) used their P-card or purchasing cards for personal use which is prohibited to include:

• Barnes Sutton and her top aide put $75,000 on their purchasing cards since 2011, followed by Boyer’s office with $58,000.
• Barnes Sutton was missing receipts for more than $45,000 of purchases.
• Barnes Sutton also topped fellow commissioners in spending at retailers, such as Office Depot, Staples, Walmart, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Tuesday Morning, and Hobby Lobby.
• Barnes Sutton’s office spent about $24,000 at retailers for office equipment such as HDTV and $700 laptop, etc., while Boyer’s office spent about $19,500.
• Barnes Sutton used the Visa card (P-card) to pay a $130 speeding ticket, which she apparently received in January 2013. (see attachment for completed document)

• 8. Conflict of Interest – Sharon Barnes Sutton hired companies owned by her boyfriend (former), Warren Mosby and her executive assistant, Judy Brownlee, to perform duties and receive payments from the District 4 office despite the conflict of interest to include:

• H.S.I Systems & Consultants, Inc. is owned by Warren Mosby and Mosby received several contracts from Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton to include:
 $1,336.00 – Design of program for YLA Kick-off
 $4,212.00 – District 4 Commissioner Newsletter
 $10,000.00 – BOC Transition Advisory Capacity (see attachment)

• RightThink Associates, Inc. is owned by Warren Mosby and Mosby received contracts from Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton to include (alleged):
 $20,000.00 – Professional Services for District 4

• Empowerment Planners and Consulting Group is owned by Judy Brownlee (Barnes Sutton’s top aid) and Brownlee received contracts and payment from Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton. We will provide the full list of contracts once we can verify the date Judy Brownlee started working for Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton (alleged). The partial list include:
 $1,000 – Professional Consulting and Administration Services
 $1,125 – Professional Consulting and Administration Services

9. Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton and Judy Brownlee abused and allegedly violated county policy and local law by using the Purchasing Cards for personal use and neglected to reimburse the county for the full amount of money. The WSB Channel 2 investigation on retail spending among DeKalb Commissioners identified the following violations to include:

1. Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton and Judy Brownlee had 511 total purchases which added up to $75,583.33, to include 178 receipts or 34.8%.
2. The purchases with receipts total $29,901.63 and the purchases without receipts total $45,681.70. (see the attachment for complete information)

“Red Flag”: Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton deliberately and willfully misused her P-card dating back to October 2009, evidenced by:

A. Sharon Barnes Sutton was formally notified about her misuse of the P-card in two documents from Internal Audit & Licensing dated April 2, 2010 and October 12, 2011 (See Attachment). She was notified by Eugene O’Mard in 2010 and the document was sent to Dr. Michael Bell, Keith Barker, Kelvin Walton and Dale Dague (See Attachment). Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton’s office of BOC District 4 did not comply with DeKalb County P-Card policies and procedures. (see the attachment for complete information)

As a coalition, we call for an action plan to hold elected officials accountable and ensure their aides uphold policy and procedures, and the law to include:

• Request a 5-10 year audit (2003-2013) of Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton’s P-card use to evaluate if this was truly a mistake or a pattern of misuse which substantiates a violation of the law. If the evidence shows a pattern of abuse, we demand Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton and others be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
• Require Sharon Barnes Sutton and Judy Brownlee to repay all monies for inappropriate charges on the P-card and/or charges paid by the county.
• Request the P-card use of every County Commissioner and their aides to evaluate if these actions are a systematic problem that extends to more than one or two commissioners (please include the Interim CEO Lee May and his aides as they represented Commission District 5);
• Request the information be forwarded to the District Attorney for prosecution if the Board of Ethic determines violation or violations of the law;
• Request the policy for P-card use be revised to include the Commissioners and all Board of Commissioners’ staff;
• Remove Sharon Barnes Sutton from office and terminate the employment of Judy Brownlee with DeKalb County and bar them both from ever working for DeKalb County in the future.

I, Viola Davis and Restore DeKalb, submit this Ethics Complaint and the amendment with the support of Restore DeKalb to hold Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton and Judy Brownlee accountable for their alleged illegal actions.


Viola Davis
Taxpayer and Voter in Commission District 4

Attachments Included

Amendment 1 to Ethics Complaint against Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton and Judy Brownlee and Documentation Attachment.

Restore Public Trust Ethics Complaint – Amendment 1


Restore Public Trust Ethics Complaint – Amendment 1

Viola Davis
909 Rays Road
Stone Mountain, Ga. 30083

June 9, 2014

DeKalb County Board of Ethics
Clark Harrison Building
330 W. Ponce de Leon Avenue
Decatur, Georgia 30030

Dear DeKalb County Board of Ethics:

I, Viola Davis with Unhappy Taxpayer & Voter, submit this 1st amendment to the ethics complaint to restore public trust against Kelvin Walton, former Director and Chief Procurement Officer of the Department of Purchasing and Contracting and Nina Hall, Former Assistant to CEO Burrell Ellis, and former Project Manager with the Watershed Department.

I presented evidence during an executive meeting of Restore DeKalb on Friday, May 29, 2014 which included documentation from the grand jury case against former CEO Burrell Ellis. I have received the full support of Restore DeKalb to submit a Restore Public Trust Ethics Complaint – Amendment 1 against Kelvin Walton and Nina Hall concerning the public corruption case related to purchasing and contracts within the Watershed Department.

I submit an amendment to include sworn statements of both Kelvin Walton and Nina Hall from the grand jury report located in the document titled, “State vs. W. Burrell Ellis Supplement to Supplemental Motion to Suppress the Search of Mr. Ellis’ residence and Mr. Ellis’ Office and Seizure of Evidence and Motion to Suppress Wire Communications and Text Messages”. The document has 170 pages.

The documented evidence is placed in bullet points to highlight important testimony that will support the DeKalb County Board of Ethics removing Walton and Hall from the taxpayers’ payroll. Kelvin Walton and Nina Hall need to be remove from the taxpayers’ payroll for following reasons:
• Kelvin Walton willfully lied multiple times during his May Special Purpose Grand Jury Testimony.
• Kelvin Walton admitted under oath that he lied to the Grand Jury.
• Kelvin Walton refused to answer 343 questions for fear of self-incrimination.
• Kelvin Walton funneled cash from vendors to a county employee who served on approximately fifteen selection committees for DeKalb County projects. The employees name is Nina Hall, formerly the executive assistant to CEO Burrell Ellis.
• Kelvin Walton accepted a gift/service from a vendor of cash value without paying for the service.
• Nina Hall first denied ever receiving gifts or cash from vendors under oath. However, she eventually confessed to receiving cash from Kelvin Walton and allegedly Michael Hightower.

In the document dated May 7, 2014, Attorney Arthur Leach stated there was no actual factual allegations against his client (Kelvin L. Walton) in our complaint. Leach also stated Kelvin L. Walton cannot engage in the process until he testifies in the pending case involving the former CEO of DeKalb County. (See attachment)
The DeKalb County Board of Ethics must be made aware of the following facts concerning Kelvin Walton and Nina Hall’s testimonies within the grand jury document identified above to include:

I. Kelvin L. Walton Testimony:

a. Kelvin Walton takes the oath and solemnly swears or affirms that the evidence he gave the Grand Jury on his presentment shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help him God. (Page 190 — Defendant’s exhibit D)
b. Juror Number 10 asked Kelvin Walton, “Does this leave the county open for lawsuits, I mean, liable for”. Kelvin Walton said, “It does, ma’am”. (Page 225)
c. Kelvin Walton said, “We are not in the business of paying anyone that’s even related to somebody that work for the County.” Despite stating this fact, Walton allowed Jeff Walker, brother of a county worker named John Walker, receive contract payments from vendors. (Page 148)
d. Kelvin Walton claimed he was not aware Brown and Caldwell paid Jeff Walker when they had the large mapping contract with the county. (Page 150)
e. Walton claimed he was not aware that Brown and Caldwell was forced to add Hadi Haeri to their mapping contract until he met with Francis Kung’u and Ted Rhinehart. (Page 151)
f. During Walton’s first testimony to the Grand Jury, he claimed that he never had anyone perform services at his home. (Page 151)

II. Kelvin Walton’s Second Appearance before the Grand Jury:

a. Kelvin Walton takes the oath and signed the written oath. (Page 104)
b. Kelvin Walton admits there was something that he was not truthful about with the Grand Jury previously. (Page 105)
c. Walton said, “First of all, I want to apologize to the Grand Jury. I was not, you know, as truthful as I should have been the time that I was here.”
d. Walton said, “As it relates to the matter with Paul Champion, I did meet him in the parking lot at Walmart, but I did not solicit any funds from him. Paul Champion did cut down trees for me and I believe that he was trying to hold that against me because the County was not paying him for the bill that the County owed him (Champion) for the trees that he said that he cut down.” (Page 106)
e. Walton claimed Paul Champion offered him cash and he said that he (Walton) did not operate like that. (Page 107)
f. Kelvin Walton said, “But again, I want to apologize. I was not truthful. I was nervous. I had never done this before. Again, I’ve been in the business 20 years and never faced this type of situation and I lied and I apologize for that.” (Page 108)

III. Kelvin Walton’s testimony dealt with contractors under investigation and controversial events within DeKalb County government to include:
a. Kelvin Walton said, “Then Neville Anderson, whoever he is from some company, called Morris Williams this weekend and said that Jeff Walker and Dr. Taylor called him and said, did Morris ever ask you for any money, we need to lead the DA to somebody else. And the young man said, I don’t know what you’re talking about”. (Page 163) …”Tony Taylor used to work for a company called Parsons.” (Page 163-165)
b. Walton discusses a bogus company on page 171.
c. Kelvin Walton said that the last time he spoke with CEO Jones was right after he got out of office. He saw him at the Arizona Restaurant in Lithonia. (Page 182)
d. Kelvin Walton and Vernon Jones are in the same fraternity. Walton met David Gallemore in Morris William’s office during the Jones Administration. David is a fraternity brother as well. (Page 183-184)
e. Morris Williams said, “I heard that they asked David Gallemore about a letter, Kelvin, and I said what letter…He said, you know, they were bad mouthing my company, telling – they were going around telling other companies don’t utilize G4Enterprise”. (Page 185-186)
f. Kelvin Walton acknowledged Mr. Gallemore had an inappropriate relationship with Jeff Walker’s wife. Walton went on to confirm that the inappropriate relationship was a sexual relationship. (Page 187)
g. Walton said the following concerning Richard Stogner, “Richard Stogner and Samit Roy, who is the owner of Scicom, went to see former Governor Roy Barnes the other day. They had a meeting with him because I guess he’s going to represent them as this thing develops. And they wanted me to come, you know because they – that I was going to need representation as well. And I told them, no, I’m Okay. And I’ve got things to do on the job anyway. You know, I’m going to tell the truth. I just don’t feel that I need a lawyer right now.” (Page 187-188)
h. Walton went on to say, “They said, okay, you’re sure? So they went and Roy Barnes told them – According to Richard after they got back – said former Governor Roy Barnes said that they didn’t have anything to worry about because based on what they told him, he didn’t see anything wrong with him using federal contracts splitting them at $49,000, and stuff like that. He just didn’t see the issue that he was going to call DA James and talk to him about the situation, to let him know that this is – it’s really nothing. So, in other words, just trying to get him out of it.” (Page 188)
i. Kelvin Walton explained how he and Richard Stogner broke contracts down to $49,000 (Pages 188-190). And he (Richard Stogner) knows that Samit Roy—Scicom is a good company, they do good work. And- but other companies have complained about never getting some of the IT work. (Page 188-191)

IV. Nina Hall Testimony:

a. Sworn testimony began on page 152.
b. Nina Hall stated she was the assistant to DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis and worked for Ellis four years in his capacity as the CEO, and a year and a half – he was a county commissioner. (Page 152)
c. Hall stated that she “served on committees with the community development group in terms of the grant process in the county, giving out grants to nonprofit organizations. And I have served on selection committees”. (Page 154)
d. Hall served on committees related to the procurement process for about two years. (Page 154)
e. Kelvin Walton presented Hall the opportunity to serve on some select committees. (Page 155)
f. Hall stated she knew Walton for six years and that they were friends. (Page 156)
g. Hall went out to dinner with vendors. She went to dinner with Kelvin Walton and Barry Bennett, where Bennett paid for the dinner. (Page 233)
h. Hall initially stated that she was “not aware of any vendor or a vendor representative indirectly giving a gift, be it, a physical gift or a monetary gift to any county employee, starting with the CEO, and all the way down”. (Page 234)
i. Nina Hall said, “Well, I mean my friend Kelvin, he gave me some money to help me out with something and he did say that he got it from some of his –some of his friends. Hall acknowledges that she received money from Kelvin Walton and a vendor friend allegedly Michael Hightower. (Page 235)

In the name of transparency, ethics, and accountability, we submit this ethics complaint amendment to restore public trust.


Viola Davis
Community Missionary

See Attachment

ceo burrell ellis