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Legislative ethics panel: Complainants must have firsthand knowledge

Legislative ethics panel: Complainants must have firsthand knowledge
December 20, 2010 --

The Joint Legislative Ethics Committee has rejected a complaint about a possible conflict between a lawmaker’s public duties and private work. A spokesman said the panel will not consider complaints based solely on news articles, in this case my recent piece on a $40,000 contract between Rep. Earl Ehrhart’s consulting business and an advocacy group seeking public funding for the arts. That standard makes it next to impossible for citizens to get the committee to investigate a lawmaker’s conduct.

Dec. 19

December 19, 2010 --

APS suppressed cheating scandal Broxton mayor, daughter indicted; $575K missing Nahunta council members resign after threats, bullets

Dec. 17

December 17, 2010 --

Senate leaders object to Oaky Woods deal Ex-APD cop gets 2 years in prison DeKalb board to vote on $73K raise for superintendent Judge questions Forsyth County discharge permit

Deal on CREW’s ‘most embarrassing’ list for 2010

Deal on CREW's 'most embarrassing' list for 2010
December 16, 2010 --

Gov.-elect Nathan Deal left Congress this year but still made the list of 2010’s “most embarrassing re-elects” compiled by a Washington advocacy group. The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which filed the 2009 complaint that led to a congressional ethics investigation of Deal, described him as a “new governor to watch” in a just-released report.

DirectTV agrees to $13.25M settlement, restitution

December 16, 2010 --

DirectTV customers in Georgia could qualify for a financial settlement or other restitution under a deal announced Wednesday. The satellite-TV provider and 49 states settled claims of deceptive and unfair sales practices, including renewing sports packages without customers’ knowledge, failing to properly disclose contract terms and substituting cash-back deals with bill credits.

Dec. 16

December 16, 2010 --

Augusta VA director temporarily reassigned

Dec. 15

December 15, 2010 --

Hall: Defense lawyers will not disrupt APS classes Did Clayton Co. make right decision with $7M for staff? Peach Co. schools to repay $103K

40th time the charm for state gas thief

40th time the charm for state gas thief
December 14, 2010 --

A state worker took advantage of lax oversight to refill his gas tank 40 times with the state’s money before anyone noticed, Georgia’s inspector general has found. The employee, a lieutenant at the Savannah Regional Youth Detention Center, used employee identification numbers (EINs) assigned to others when he used a state-issued fuel card to buy gas for himself, IG Elizabeth Archer said in a report issued Monday.

For-profit colleges rake in millions from post-9/11 G.I. Bill

December 14, 2010 --

For-profit universities collected about $640 million from the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill in its first year, according to a new U.S. Senate committee report. The boost to for-profits came at a time when the sector was subject to criticism for poor results and for leaving many students with unmanageable debts.

Dec. 14

December 14, 2010 --

Megachurch leaders linked to controversial mortgage venture Georgia to pay Ethics Commission whistleblower $280K Columbus Strangler to seek new trial after DNA test ATL City Hall spends thousands on bottled water Top lawmaker will push for more limits on lobbyists EPA mandates DeKalb clean water-sewer system Local judge takes Kenerly bribery case

$28.7M Oaky Woods deal OK’d; appraisals remain secret

$28.7M Oaky Woods deal OK’d; appraisals remain secret
December 13, 2010 --

State officials today agreed to pay $28.7 million for a 10,000-acre bear habitat in middle Georgia but still won’t release the appraisals used to determine that value. Houston County values the land at $1,165 an acre for tax purposes. The sellers, who paid $1,600 an acre six years ago before the real estate market collapsed, are selling it to the state for $2,875 an acre. Officials released appraisal summaries that say the property is worth that much, but declined to disclose the full appraisals until the deal is closed.

1-year limit may scuttle state ethics cases

1-year limit may scuttle state ethics cases
December 13, 2010 --

Robb Pitts is off the hook for accepting $45,000 in illegal campaign contributions in 2001, thanks to a Fulton County judge, Kimberly Adams, who ruled the statute of limitations had expired. Now lawyers are attempting to apply the judge’s ruling to other cases more than a year old. The AG’s office says the potential precedent could be devastating to enforcement of ethics laws in Georgia.