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FreePress: 6-28-2013

FreePress: 6-28-2013

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Published by hudgons
Weekly newspaper and legal organ for DeKalb County, GA. Serving East Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Tucker and Stone Mountain.
Weekly newspaper and legal organ for DeKalb County, GA. Serving East Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Tucker and Stone Mountain.

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DeKalb County DA Robert James reads the 15-count indictment against DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis. Photo by Andrew Cauthen
DeKalb CEOindicted on15 counts
 by Andrew Cauthenandrew@dekalbchamp.com“I’ve done nothing wrong.”That’s what DeKalb CEO
Burrell Ellis
said June 18, hoursafter a special grand jury handeddown a 15-count indictment,including 14 felonies, against Ellis.The indictment was announcedearlier that day during a 5:15 p.m.news conference inside the DeKalbCounty Courthouse. DeKalbDistrict Attorney
Robert James
 read the indictment without takingmedia questions.The indictment includesfour counts of criminal attemptto commit theft by extortion;three counts of theft by taking;two counts of criminal attemptto commit false statements andwritings; three counts of coercionof other employees to give anythingof value for political purposes; twocounts of conspiracy in restraintof free and open competition; andconspiracy to defraud a politicalsubdivision.“My lawyers have asked me totell you to direct all questions tothem now that these charges have been filed but I do want to makeone statement emphatically to thegood people of DeKalb County thatI’ve done nothing wrong,” Ellisstated to reporters outside his homelate that evening.“As I’ve said from the very beginning, [I’ve] done nothingwrong and I would never, ever, ever do anything to violate the publictrust,” said Ellis, after he turnedhimself in at the DeKalb CountyJail, posted a $25,000 bond, was booked and released.The charges come nearly sixmonths after Ellis’ home and officewere searched by investigatorsfrom the DA’s Office as part of aspecial grand jury investigation into
“I’ve done nothing wrong.”
 According to the indictment:
 
• Conuty contract assistants
were instructed to create countyvendor lists used to solicitcampaign contributions.
• A county employee was ordered
by CEO Burrell Ellis to arrangea meeting between Ellis andNational Property Institute whenthe company’s vice presidentdid not respond to his campaigncontribution solicitations.
A county employee wasinstructed by Ellis to use countyinformation to create countyvendor lists to be used to solicitcontributions and to “personallydeliver” the lists to the officesof R. L. Brown Associates Inc.where Ellis made campaignphone calls.
 
www.championnewspaper.com
WWW.CHAMPIONNEWSPAPER.COM • FRIDAY,
JUNE 28
, 2013 • VOL. 16, NO. 14 •FREE
REE 
RESS 
• A PUBLICATION OF ACE III COMMUNICATIONS •
Serving East Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Tucker and Stone Mountain.
See Indictment on page 15ASee Fourth on page 15A— DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis
 
www.facebook.com/ championnewspaper
 
 
www.twitter.com/ championnews
Like Us OnFollow Us On
 by Kathy Mitchellkathy@dekalbcham.com
T
he row of American flags waves freelyin the breeze along Avondale Road,children decorate their bicycles andwagons with red, white and blue streamersfor Decatur’s annual Pied Piper Parade andthe skies above Stone Mountain Park light upwith colorful fireworks—it’s IndependenceDay in DeKalb County.Independence Day, one of four federalholidays that are always observed on thesame date, comes on a Thursday this year, but that hasn’t slowed the fun as citiesthroughout the county are finding their ownways to celebrate America’s 237th birthday.
 Avondale Estates
Continuing a longtime tradition,Avondale Estates this year is celebrating theFourth of July with a parade and fireworksat the lake. Residents and friends are invitedto be part of this year’s celebration. Here’sthe schedule:9:15 a.m. - Parade line-up at AvondaleHigh School10 a.m. - Parade begins up ClarendonAvenue
DeKalb County goesred, whiteand blue
 
The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 28, 2013 Page 2A
LOCAL NEWS
Ellis denies any wrongdoing, tells county to remain focused
School district and HeeryInternational back atnegotiating table
Advertisement
 
for
 
School
 
Property
 
Sales
 
DeKalb
 
County
 
School
 
Board
 
is
 
selling
 
two
 
of 
 
its
 
properties
 
as
is
 
through
 
a
 
competitive
 
sealed
 
bid
 
process.
 
The
 
two
 
properties
 
are
 
located
 
at:
 
Freeman
 
Admin.
 
Building
 
A/B
 
(office)
 
Hooper
 
Alexander
 
(school)
 
3770
 
North
 
Decatur
 
Rd
 
3414
 
Memorial
 
Drive
 
Decatur,
 
Georgia
 
30032
 
Decatur,
 
Georgia
 
30032
 
81,000
 
square
 
feet
 
of 
 
office
 
space
 
68,900
 
square
 
feet
 
of 
 
school
 
facility
 
9.3
 
acres
 
8.1
 
acres
 
Sealed
 
Bids,
 
from
 
Bidders,
 
will
 
be
 
received
 
by
 
the
 
DeKalb
 
County
 
Board
 
of 
 
Education
 
(the
 
“Owner”)
 
at
 
the
 
Sam
 
A.
 
Moss
 
Service
 
Center,
 
1780
 
Montreal
 
Road,
 
Tucker,
 
Georgia
 
30084,
 
until
 
12:00
 
Noon
 
local
 
time
 
on
 
Thursday,
 
August
 
1,
 
2013
 
for
 
all
 
labor,
 
materials
 
and
 
services
 
necessary
 
for
 
both
 
projects.
 
Bidding
 
Documents
 
may
 
be
 
obtained
 
by
 
Bidders
 
at:
 
h
ttp://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/solicitations/
 
All
 
questions
 
about
 
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Advertisement
 
for
 
Bids
 
must
 
be
 
directed
 
in
 
writing
 
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Stephen
 
Wilkins,
 
Chief 
 
Operations
 
Officer
 
not
 
later
 
than
 
Tuesday,
 
July
 
23th,
 
2013
 
at
 
12:00
 
Noon.
 
Contact
 
Mr.
 
Stephen
 
M.
 
Wilkins
,
 
Chief 
 
Operations
 
Officer,
 
Sam
 
Moss
 
Center,
 
1780
 
Montreal
 
Road,
 
Tucker,
 
Georgia
 
30084.;
 
email:
 
dcsd
ops
bid
questions@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
;
 
Fax
 
678.676.1350.
 
Except
 
as
 
expressly
 
provided
 
in,
 
or
 
permitted
 
by,
 
the
 
Bidding
 
Documents,
 
from
 
the
 
date
 
of 
 
issuance
 
of 
 
the
 
Advertisement
 
for
 
Bids
 
until
 
final
 
Owner
 
action
 
of 
 
approval
 
of 
 
contract
 
award,
 
the
 
Bidder
 
shall
 
not
 
initiate
 
any
 
communication
 
or
 
discussion
 
concerning
 
the
 
Project
 
or
 
the
 
Bidder’s
 
Bid
 
or
 
any
 
part
 
thereof 
 
with
 
any
 
employee,
 
agent,
 
or
 
representative
 
of 
 
the
 
Owner.
 
Any
 
violation
 
of 
 
this
 
restriction
 
may
 
result
 
in
 
the
 
rejection
 
of 
 
the
 
Bidder’s
 
Bid.
 
The
 
Owner
 
reserves
 
the
 
right
 
to
 
reject
 
any
 
or
 
all
 
Bids,
 
and
 
to
 
waive
 
technicalities
 
and
 
informalities.
 
Site
 
visits
 
Hooper
 
Alexander
 
School
 
are
 
scheduled
 
for
 
July
 
11
th
,
 
2013
 
and
 
July
 
18
th
,
 
2013
 
at
 
9:00
 
am.
 
Site
 
visits
 
for
 
Freeman
 
Administrative
 
Buildings
 
A&
 
B
 
are
 
scheduled
 
for
 
July
 
10
th
,
 
2013
 
and
 
July
 
17
th
,
 
2013
 
at
 
9:00
 
am
 
 by Daniel Beauregarddaniel@dekalbchamp.comAfter several years, andmillions of dollars in legalfees, the DeKalb CountySchool District (DCSD)
and construction rm Heery
International are againworking to settle a long-standing legal dispute.The case between the
DCSD and Heery, which
managed the district’sconstruction projects 1997-2006, has cost approxi-mately $18 million thus far.Recently, in an effort
to begin mediation, Heery
 proposed a settlement andsaid it would donate $1million to the district for educational purposes.“On two separate occa-
sions, Heery has proposed
a settlement of all claimsand we are counting onconstructive settlementdiscussions to continue,”
Heery spokesman
DavidRubinger
said. “We look forward to the DeKalbCounty school board join-ing us in putting an end tothis regrettable episode.”Although the districtrejected the offer, interimSuperintendent
MichaelThurmond
reportedly said
that the fact Heery made
an offer is a positive step.Thurmond was hired af-ter former Superintendent
Cheryl Atkinson
abruptlyleft the district.The DeKalb CountyBoard of Education recent-ly voted to amend a legal by Daniel Beauregarddaniel@dekalbchamp.comDeKalb County CEO
Burrell Ellis
addresseda standing-room-only crowd June 24, statingemphatically that he has done nothing wrong.“I know the events of the last week caughteverybody by surprise,” Ellis said, “but I wantto say to you…what I’ve been saying all along,
rst and foremost, I have done nothing wrong.”
Ellis was recently indicted on 15 counts, in-cluding extortion, committing false statementsand theft by taking, all of which he has categori-cally denied.“Anybody who knows me or has objectivelyexamined my record knows my character. Istand on that character and I want you to knowthat and remain focused and be encouraged,” El-lis said.The indictment comes after six of the ninemembers of the DeKalb County school boardwere replaced by Gov.
Nathan Deal
and for-mer Superintendent
Crawford Lewis
will soonstand trial for allegedly running a criminal en-terprise in the school system.Ellis now faces charges that he instructedcounty staff to create contact lists of vendorswith the county and then used that list to solicitcampaign contributions. If the vendor refused,Ellis allegedly threatened to end their contractwith the county.Deal is required to appoint an impartial com-mittee to investigate whether the charges pend-ing against Ellis make him unable to remain in
ofce.
“I am fully committed to this job, I am fullycommitted to you and I am fully committed tothe residents of DeKalb County,” Ellis said. “Iwant you to know that we have been making
great progress during the rst six months of the
administration.”Since he began his second term, the county
has seen a shufing of top-level ofcials and
many new hires; Ellis lauded this as somethingthat will bring a positive change to the county.So far this year, DeKalb County has hired
new Chief Operating Ofcer (COO)
ZacharyWilliams
, Deputy COO
Luz Borrero
, Chief of Staff 
Hakim Hilliard
, county Attorney
O.V.Brantley
, Police Chief 
Cedric Alexander
, Pub-
lic Affairs Ofcer 
Jill Strickland Luse
, Chief 
Information Ofcer 
John Matelski
and Plan-ning Director 
Andrew Baker
.Ellis outlined the positive things that have been done for the county since he began his
second term such as improving public safety, 
-nalizing a strategic plan, implementing a living-wage increase and improving the county’s ani-mal services and permitting departments.Additionally, Ellis said his administrationis working to implement a “cost-of-living”increase for all county employees in the 2014 budget.Ellis also said he isn’t opposed to unionmembership for county employees such as sani-tation workers.“I believe in unions—I believe in labor— and I have supported you in that quest and I’mworking with you and our union groups to en-sure that happens,” Ellis said.Ellis encouraged those present during hisaddress to remain focused and not to let thecontroversies the county is embroiled in distractfrom the positive things the county is doing.
“You have chosen a very difcult journey,
you have chosen public service,” Ellis said. “Wedo it because it’s what we are called to do—toserve other people.”
See School on Page 3ADeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis addressed county em-ployees and residents June 24 and encouraged themto continue to “keep their eyes on the ball” and notlose focus. Ellis has denied any wrongdoing in regardsto a 15-count indictment against him. Photo by DanielBeauregard
 
Page 3A The Champion Free Press, Friday, June 28, 2013
Lithonia’s city administratorsearch narrowed to four
Printedon 100%post-consumerrecycledpaper
 by Andrew Cauthenandrew@dekalbchamp.comThe former city manager of Stone Mountain and theformer city administrator for Pine Lake are two of the
four nalists for Lithonia’s
city administrator position.Sixteen candidates ap- plied in the search, which began mid-March, accord-ing to
Tom Berry
of Under-wood and Co., a consulting
rm based in Thomasville,
Ga.The candidates include
Barry Amos
, former StoneMountain city manager;
Phil Howland
, former PineLake city administrator;
Brad
 
Chambers
, a retiredchief of joint operationsfor the U.S. Navy; and
LeeChastain
, the former city planner for Thomasville.Lithonia Mayor 
Deborah
 
Jackson
said she plans tohave a city administrator named by the end of themonth.“I’ve needed somebodysince January,” Jacksonsaid.Currently, the city is performing background andreference checks on the four 
nalists.Jackson said the nalists
are excellent candidates whowill be helpful in movingthe city forward in “a posi-tive and creative manner.”“Many people recognizeLithonia as a diamond in therough,” she said. “We need
to nd the right person to
 polish it.”Amos, who lives inPeachtree City, earned a bachelor of science degreein civil engineering fromGeorgia Institute of Tech-nology.
He was Stone Mountain’s
city manager from 2008-2012 and was the townmanager/engineer of Ty-rone, Ga., from 1996-2008.From 1994-1996, Amosworked as a project manager for Southeastern Engineers,Inc.; and from 1982-1994he was the city engineer of Peachtree City.“Lithonia has more potential than any city inDeKalb County,” Amossaid.“The current elected of-
cials are going to capitalize
on Lithonia’s potential andI would like to be a part of that,” Amos said.
Howland worked for 
Pine Lake from 2003-2012where he served as the cityadministrator, public worksdirector and acting courtclerk.The Pine Lake resident
was the chief nancial of 
-
cer of Homewright Inc. in
Pine Lake from 1991-2001.
Howland attended Geor 
-gia Perimeter College.“I see Lithonia as another opportunity to help a com-
munity grow,” Howland
said. “Lithonia has been a place that has needed somehelp for a long time.”
He said Jackson is a
“very dynamic mayor” whohas helped to advance thecity.Chambers worked aschief of joint operationsfor the U.S. Navy, 2010-2012; and operations man-
ager for CH2M Hill OMI,
2006-2009; parks andrecreation department di-rector for Grandview, Mo.,2004-2006; and director of leisure services and publicfacilities, Cookeville, Tenn.,1987-2000.Chambers, who lives in
Chestereld, Mich., has a
master’s degree in publicadministration from CentralMichigan University and a bachelor of science degreein recreation administrationfrom University of Tennes-see.“I know a lot about At-lanta,” said Chambers whohas lived in the metro region
in the past. “My very rst
 place I lived after collegewas Lithonia.”Chambers, who said hehas always wanted to bea city administrator, said,“The Lithonia City Councilreally want to turn [the city]around. That’s an environ-ment that any city adminis-trator would want to work in.”Chastain of Marietta wasthe city planner for Thomas-ville, Ga., from 2008-2013.
He worked as a project man
-ager for Professional GroupAssociates from 2007-2008and as a special projectsmanager for Powder Springsfrom 2004-2007.Chastain has a bachelor’sdegree in sociology from
Fort Hays State University.
Chastain said he wel-comes the opportunity tohelp Lithonia increase theeconomic vitality of itsdowntown area.“Lithonia is a great com-munity that presents someinteresting challenges andopportunities,” he said.
‘We look forward to theDeKalb County school board joining us in putting an end to this regrettable episode.’
–David Rubinger
Chamber AmosHowland
agreement with law rm
King & Spalding, whichcould have cost the districtmore than $30 million if thedistrict elected to settle with
Heery against the law rm’s
recommendation.“This new agreementallows the parents and tax- payers of DeKalb County
to seek justice in the Heery
matter without the massiverisks and inherent costs as-sociated with the previousagreement,” board Chair-man
Melvin Johnson
said.The DeKalb CountyBoard of Education al-leges in a Superior Court
lawsuit that Heery, in its
role as manager of schoolconstruction projects, de-frauded the school systemand mismanaged tens of millions in taxpayer dollars.Before renegotiatingits contract with King &Spalding, DCSD was be-ing sued by two residentswho claimed that the fee
agreement with the law rm
violated the constitutionand put DeKalb Countyresidents at risk.The case between DCSD
and Heery stems from
2007, when the district ter-minated its contract with
the construction rm. Heeryrst led suit against the
district, alleging DCSDowed the company out-standing invoices. The dis-trict countersued for $100million, alleging fraud andmismanagement during the
 period Heery managed its
construction projects.The district has beenembroiled in legal battlesever since its former Super-intendent
Crawford Lewis
,former operations manager 
Patricia Reid
and her thenhusband
Tony Pope
wereindicted in 2010.According to prosecu-tors, Lewis, Reid and Popeconspired to defraud theschool district of approxi-mately $2.4 million throughillegal construction con-tracts.Some contend one of the reasons the civil caseinvolving the district and
Heery has been drawn outso long is because ofcials
are waiting for the outcomeof the criminal trial involv-ing Lewis, Reid and Pope.All three have beencharged with running acriminal enterprise withinthe school system. Lewishas been charged withviolating the Racketeer 
Inuenced and Corrupt
Organizations Act (RICO),theft by taking by a govern-ment employee and bribery.Pope and Reid face similar charges.They are currentlyawaiting trial, which will begin this summer in Judge
Clarence Seeliger
’s court-room.
School
Continued From Page 2A 

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