ATL District 4: Cleta Winslow
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Leaders in the public sector have plenty of public resources to promote their political views, accomplishments and experience. Often much more can be found in the public record: personal and campaign finance disclosures, expense reports, and business, tax and court filings. Here’s what they show:
Cleta Meris Winslow, incumbent
May 2014 update: Winslow finally filed her last two disclosures for 2013, four to six months after they were due.
Cleta Winslow paid $6,920 in fines and restitution for spending tax dollars to boost her 2009 re-election bid, after she’d been warned against using city resources in her political activity. This year, her opponent charges, she used public money again to bus senior citizens to her campaign kickoff party. It’s impossible to tell whether she used campaign funds for that event because, three weeks after the deadline, her campaign still hasn’t filed a required report on its donations and spending. She also hasn’t filed the personal financial disclosure required of all candidates in the 2013 election.
Torry Lewis, running against Winslow in District 4, posted an invoice on his campaign website for a $390 minibus shuttle paid from her city expense account. The invoice showed Proview Tours provided a continual shuttle for three hours on Aug. 24 from two senior housing complexs to address on Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard. The address is Winslow’s campaign headquarters, and Aug. 24 was her campaign kickoff party. In an article on CascadePatch.com, Lewis alleges the bus was also seen shuttling people from two other housing complexes that day. The city Ethics Office is investigating.
City council members have virtually no oversight of spending from their expense accounts, despite the city auditor’s recommendations in 2009 for guidelines on the appropriate types of expenses, a clear statement on the public purpose of each expense and more procurement and ethics training.
Winslow’s campaign finance are also a bit of a mess. She hasn’t filed a campaign disclosure since June. Earlier reports suggest that more than $6,000 in donations are unaccounted for. Her December 2012 disclosure showed she had raised $6,524 more than she had spent, but her next disclosure reported an opening balance of just $259. Winslow did not respond to telephone and text messages seeking comment.
Property records still show an unsatisfied $4,875 lien against Winslow, filed in September 2011, for unpaid 2007 state income taxes. A $473 lien for unpaid Atlanta solid waste fees is also still on the books.
Winslow was arrested in May 2013 for allegedly driving while intoxicated and other charges after refusing to take a field sobriety test. The officer who arrested her about a block from her home said Winslow, who admitted to drinking two martinis, “seemed very distant/out of it and had a very slow reaction to his questions,” the AJC reported. “She had glassy eyes and was squinting.”
In 2006, city Ethics Officer Ginny Looney warned Winslow against using city resources in her re-election campaigns. Winslow had distributed a city-financed newsletter at a candidates’ forum in 2005, which Looney found to be an “unintentional and insubstantial” violation of the city’s ethics code.
In 2009, though, Winslow spent $1,695 of city funds to print a newsletter and $3,720 to have it hand-delivered to constituents’ homes in the last several days before the city election. She settled the case by agreeing to reimburse the city and pay a $1,500 fine. The investigative file showed Winslow spent many thousands more from her city expense account in the two months before the election, including:
- $4,200 in catering for two events in September.
- $1,780 to invite constituents to an Oct. 7 “meet and greet” dinner.
- $863 for food and flyers promoting an Oct. 13 forum on streetscape improvements.
- $363 for catering an Oct. 15 meeting with senior citizens.
- $5,007 for food, music and equipment rentals for West End Remembers Day on Oct. 17.
- $450 for food and a speaker for an Oct. 20 grant-writing seminar for ministers in her district.
- $4,995 for barbecue and other expenses at an Oct. 24 public art dedication at Adair Park in southwest Atlanta.
Winslow owes $625 in late fees to the state ethics commission for disclosures that were filed either late or not at all in 2012 and 2013. She’s paid another $625 in fees for another nine late filings since 2002.
- Ran for Fulton County Commission in a 1988 special election to replace indicted commissioner Chuck Williams. Nancy Boxill defeated Winslow, who’d worked as Williams’ administrative assistant for nine years, by 54% to 46%.
- Elected to City Council in 1993, winning 58 percent of the vote in a runoff.
- Re-elected in 1997 with 55% of the vote.
- Re-elected three more times since then with 62% of the vote in 2001, 57% in 2005 and 52% in 2009.
- Re-elected in 2013 with 69% of the vote.
- Community Development Human Resources
- Public Safety
- Committee on Council
- Member, Atlanta City Council.
Business ownership interests
- None disclosed.
Other fiduciary positions
- Former president, West End Neighborhood Development Inc.
Real estate holdings
- Personal residence in Atlanta valued at $40,000.
- Duplex in Atlanta valued at $27,000.
- None disclosed.
Donors have given more than $214,000 to Winslow’s campaign committee since 1993. The breakdown by election cycle:
- 1993: $13,305
- 1994-97: $34,950
- 1998-2001: $48,150
- 2002-05: $87,764
- 2006-09: $27,375
- 2010-13: $22,300
- Reported cash on hand (Jan. 2014): $8,583
- $6,900 The Buckhead Coalition, business & community advocacy
- $5,350 Montgomery Watson/Khafra J.V., construction management
- $4,500 Herman J. Russell Sr. & family, real estate developer
- $4,350 The Integral Group, real estate developer
- $4,000 Capital Realty, real estate developer
- $3,500 Dillard & Galloway, zoning attorneys
- $3,500 Thrasher Trucking Co. & Thrasher Contracting Co.
- $3,350 McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP, law/lobbying firm
- $3,000 Halpern Enterprises, real estate developer
- $3,000 Harold A. Dawson, real estate developer
- $3,000 Kemi Construction Co.
Posted Oct. 31, 2013; updated May 23, 2014