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Report: 2 ethics attorneys ran private practice on state’s time

Report: 2 ethics attorneys ran private practice on state's time
July 15, 2010 --

Two attorneys for the State Ethics Commission improperly used public resources to operate their private law practice, Inspector General Elizabeth Archer has found. Attorneys Yasha Heidari, who resigned in April, and Tom Plank used state-issued computers to research clients’ cases and abused sick leave, she said, and they created a potential conflict by representing a business operated by a man who offers his services as a lobbyist, a profession regulated by the ethics commission. UPDATE: The Ethics Commission said today it will implement the inspector general’s recommended remedies immediately and will “take appropriate action” after reviewing the findings regarding Plank.

Unopposed legislators collect $530K in 2nd quarter

July 15, 2010 --

More than 90 state lawmakers — and one newcomer — collected $530,000 in campaign contributions this spring even though they will coast to election in November without a fight,an analysis of campaign records shows. More than half of that cash flowed to just 10 of them.

July 15

July 15, 2010 --

DeCosta: Airport contract winner stiffed city White athletes sue Savannah State for bias Investigation clears ex-Clayton Co. police chief Columbus Parks & Rec probe now criminal Reforming Fulton Co. Commission will take more than good intent Cobb commissioner proposes to term-limit ethics board

Hudgens discloses $100K loan to campaign, admits oversight

Hudgens discloses $100K loan to campaign, admits oversight
July 14, 2010 --

Sen. Ralph Hudgens says he loaned his campaign the money to pay for two weeks of TV ads but neglected to file the necessary last-minute disclosures. The Madison County Republican, a candidate for state insurance commissioner, says he could file complaints against several opponents if he chose, but “I want to honor Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment of ‘Speak no ill of your Republican brothers.'”

July 14

July 14, 2010 --

ATL-Macon flights draw light loads, federal $$$ Corey lawyers: ATL broke own rules n airport contract deal With court approval, court continues to verify voters Ethics panel investigating Handel complaints Clayton Co. judge allows lawsuit against Scotts to continue Evans documents include e-mail from Courtney Fuhrmann

Common Cause: Most top candidates back limits on lobbyist gifts

July 13, 2010 --

Most major candidates for governor back a limit on lobbyists’ gifts to legislators and on inter-campaign cash transfers, a new survey shows. Both measures drew support from leading candidates except for Thurbert Baker and John Oxendine, who have not yet responded to the survey. “It looks like from this list here … that the new governor will be somebody who stands behind these reforms,” Common Cause director Bill Bozarth said.

July 13

July 13, 2010 --

Oxendine promoted hospice chain tied to $57K in campaign donations 2 cops out of jobs after repeat Tasering of woman Judge denies bid to delay airport advertising trial Canton ethics committee reviews complaint Catoosa Co. judge not told reason for firing

Local ethics boards get no respect

Local ethics boards get no respect
July 13, 2010 --

Twice a year, members of the Cobb County ethics board meet to deal with housekeeping matters. Then they go home. For a time last year, DeKalb’s ethics board couldn’t even muster a quorum. And in Fulton, a state legislator contends the ethics board cannot impose fines or sanctions because its members were appointed improperly. Bottom line: Local ethics boards get no respect.

July 12

July 12, 2010 --

Lawsuit: Legislator sought mortgage break for brother Sewage in the Hooch costs Douglas Co. 1.5 cents per gallon Candidates spar over ethics at GOP debate Ga. developing new day-care improvement system

Hunter freed after 7 years in prison for brother’s death

Hunter freed after 7 years in prison for brother's death
July 12, 2010 --

A Walton County man will walk out of prison after serving seven years in prison for murdering his brother while hunting on the family farm. The Georgia Supreme Court today unanimously threw out Joshua Hames‘ 2002 conviction, ruling that prosecutors never proved a critical element of the crime and that Hames’ lawyer, a former prosecutor, failed to challenge them on it.

Audit: ATL code compliance looked good — after cooking the books

Audit: ATL code compliance looked good -- after cooking the books
July 12, 2010 --

Atlanta’s Office of Code Compliance manipulated inspection data to inflate the agency’s caseload and vastly overstate its performance, city auditors say. Its files were such a mess that workers often couldn’t even find paperwork for a particular case. Auditors said the office staff was told to record inspection dates even if no inspection had occurred. For one month, the faulty data made it appear the average inspection was conducted 14 days after the complaint came in; auditors calculated it really took nearly six months.

July 11

July 11, 2010 --

ATL schools’ cheating probe faces scrutiny Crowded hospitals leave mentally ill inmates in jail Barton on Imperial Sugar fines: The cost of doing business Oxendine target of mid-’90s probe Forsyth Co. planning director sues under whistleblower act