- Created on 18 June 2013
On Tuesday DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis was booked into Dekalb County jail and later released on bond. Ellis was indicted earlier in the day on 15 counts by a grand jury on charges that he tried to extort campaign contributions from companies and their employees and threatened to withhold county business from those that didn't contribute to his campaign.
DeKalb County Commissioner Lee May released a statement today in response to the indictment.
“This is a sad day for DeKalb County. While every person is clearly innocent until proven guilty, this ongoing saga has been a distraction and continues to bring unwelcome negative publicity to our county and government” said Commissioner May.
“Like all citizens of DeKalb, I pray that there will be a quick resolution to these issues," May added. "Regardless of the accusations of corruption in the CEO’s office, my fellow Commissioners and I are committed to keeping our focus on our duties and responsibilities as public servants. We remain steadfast in our commitment to bringing a better future to DeKalb County."
- Created on 18 June 2013
Recently reelected DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis was indicted Tuesday on 15 counts by a grand jury. The indictment alleges that Ellis tried to extort campaign contributions from companies and their employees and threatened to withhold county business from those that didn't contribute to his campaign.
Of the 15 counts listed in the indictment 14 are felonies, including four counts of extortion, two counts of theft by taking and several conspiracy charges, said DeKalb District Attorney Robert James during an afternoon news conference.
The indictment, as read by James, says Ellis extorted CIBER Inc., a vendor in DeKalb, by threatening a local manager. It says Ellis threatened to tell CIBER's CEO that the local manager, Joanne Wise, delivered poor customer service if she did not agree to a campaign contribution.
In another case, Ellis allegedly threatened to withhold county business from Power and Energy Services, Inc., after an employee didn't respond to his campaign contribution requests and didn't give money. According to the indictment, he then instructed the director of purchasing and contracting not to give the company any more work and to put a note in its file saying the firm didn't return phone calls.
The indictment goes on to say that Ellis had county workers compiling lists during working hours of companies that had contracts so he could solicit campaign contributions.
Below are the charges facing Ellis from the grand jury:
Count 1 – Criminal attempt to commit theft by extortion. Between Feb 17, 2012 and March 21, 2012, attempted to commit theft by extortion. As public official to obtain campaign contribution, Cyber Inc. and JoAnne Wise, threatening to take and withhold action to prevent Cyber Inc. from receiving business from DeKalb. And to end its business with DeKalb after Wise did not respond to demand for money and to say they would not contribute.
Count 2 — Ellis threatened to hurt her reputation if she did not contribute to his campaign.
Count 3 — On June 25, 2012 tried to extort campaign contribution Power and Energy Services. Brandon Cummings did not respond to requests for contribution and after was told Power and Energy would not contribute.
Count 4 — Sept. 25 2012 – Conspiracy with Kevin Walton director of purchasing for unreasonable restraint of trade. Told Walton to prevent work for Power and Energy.
Counts six and seven – Ellis put notes in files that Power and Electric did not return phone calls.
Count 8 — Theft by taking services – ordered Walton to use DeKalb Board meeting agendas and contracting information to create a list of vendors awarded contracts to include contact information so could use vendor list to solicit contributions.
Count 9 — For delivery of the lists for Walton during working hours to R.L. Brown and Associates to make calls
Count 10 – Conspiracy to defraud a political subdivision.
Theft of property using Kelvin Walton and three others. Told Walton during normal working hours to use board of commissioner meeting agendas and data to create lists of vendors to use for soliciting campaign contributions.
Ellis' indictment comes just months after Gov. Nathan Deal removed five DeKalb school board members for mismanagement.
The office of county Commissioner Elaine Boyer said the commissioners were meeting individually with the county attorney for briefings on the situation and to determine what their next steps should be.
- Created on 18 June 2013
A man in his 60s is in police custody today after allegedly stabbing two other residents of a southwest Atlanta senior living facility.
A woman, Mary Oliver, was declared dead at the scene and another victim remains at Grady Memorial Hospital in stable condition, according to Atlanta Police Department Capt. Tim Peek. According to the Baptist Towers newsletter, Oliver's birthday would have been today. The AJC reports that she would have been 76.
APD has not released the name of the suspect in the stabbings, but say they caught a man with knives that were bloody near the complex. The attacks happened around 11 p.m. on Monday at Baptist Towers, near East Point.
Peek said officers "were able to apprehend the suspect near the scene and were able to recover two knives that did have blood on them."
Peek added the facility's on-site security guard was apparently making rounds outside the tower when the stabbings occurred.
Oliver's daughter, Ellen Hall Varner, said that the suspect, who lives on the 11-story high rise's 5th floor, first stabbed the man on the 7th floor, then "went home, took a shower, changed clothes and stuff."
The suspect then went to the second floor, "and kicked my mother's door in," Varner told the AJC.
"Immediately when you come in the door, her kitchen is to the right," Varner said, describing her mother's apartment. "He got one of her butcher knives out of there and went in and started stabbing her. She was in bed."
Varner said detectives told her that her mother suffered a deep gash to the back of her head, a cut under her left eye and several stab wounds to the chest.
Police said they have not yet determined a motive for the attacks.
"There does not appear to be any definite relationships between the parties at this point," Peek said.
- Created on 18 June 2013
The City of East Point Fire Department will host its first Men's Leadership & Wellness Conference on Thursday, June 20, from 9:00a.m. - 3:00p.m. at the Holiday Inn & Suites Atlanta Airport North Hotel, located at 1380 Virginia Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia 30344.
The conference, entitled "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise," will offer tips to men on health, finances and career strategies. Keynote Speakers will include Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran of the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department, and Fire Chief Jeff Hood of the Clayton County Fire Department, as well as others. Partners for this event include Atlanta Medical Center and Midtown Urology.
The conference is free and open to Firefighters and Fire Officers throughout the Atlanta Metropolitan area. Persons interested are encouraged to register in advance by calling the East Point Fire Department at (404)559-6401.
- Created on 17 June 2013
On Monday, the NAACP released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court ruling that Arizona's proof of citizenship requirement is preempted by the federal law requiring states use the federal voter registration form:
"State government should encourage voting, not discourage it," said NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. "The Supreme Court made the right decision to strike down Arizona's proof-of-citizenship law. We need to find innovative ways to make voting easier and more accessible for Americans, rather than coming up with new ways to suppress it."
"Any victory for the National Voting Rights Act is a victory for our voters," said Jotaka Eaddy, Senior Director, Voting Rights. "Today's decision reaffirms the importance of the National Voting Rights Act. It is a victory for voters and our Democracy."
Read the opinion of the case here: