- Reuben McDaniel hasn’t been much for filing political disclosures since his 2009 election to the Atlanta Board of Education, racking up $750 in unpaid late or non-filing fees as a result. He’s skipped six campaign finance filings and three annual disclosures of his personal finances that are required by law.
- His apparent lassitude regarding filings with securities regulators could prove more problematic. McDaniel, who’s registered as both a securities broker and an investment adviser representative, has made no disclosure of two liens and an IRS tax obligation, each for $11,000 or more, or a $715,000 loan default. Securities brokers and investment advisers must notify regulators about unsatisfied liens as well as foreclosures and other “compromises with creditors” so that potential investors can access and review them.
A first-time political candidate, Cynthia Briscoe Brown has raised $19,000 in campaign donations this year, compared to opponent Reuben McDaniel’s nearly $60,000.
Nov. 25, 2013 — The Georgia Supreme Court agreed unanimously today that the removal of six DeKalb County school board members did not violate the state’s constitution. Gov. Nathan Deal suspended former board chair Gene Walker and five other members in February as the DeKalb school district faced an imminent loss of accreditation. In an opinion released today, the high court upheld Deal’s power to remove local school board members and the Legislature’s right to get involved to that extent in local school systems’ affairs.
Nov. 22, 2013 — I was lunching on the patio of a South Carolina plantation house when John Connally started talking about the afternoon, 50 years ago today, when someone shot him in Dallas. “Someone” is the proper word because Connally was never sure that Lee Harvey Oswald was the one who shot him. It’s no exaggeration to say that, as he explained his reasoning at lunch that day
, you could have heard a pin drop.
Nov. 18, 2013 — Two Fulton County whistleblowers may proceed with legal claims that they lost their jobs in retaliation for reporting misuse of taxpayers’ funds, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled today. The decision strengthens the state’s whistleblower law by holding that the law protects all public employees, not just those who work in state-funded programs, and dismissing Fulton County’s defense of sovereign immunity.
Nov. 14, 2013 — State ethics officials Wednesday embraced a plan for an independent performance audit to help solve their structural and public-image troubles. Voting 5-0 to seek the outside scrutiny, members of Georgia’s ethics commission expressed confidence that the state auditor would thoroughly investigate charges that the agency’s top staffer interfered in a 2012 investigation of Gov. Nathan Deal. If the audit finds “even a hint or a whiff of criminal misconduct,” chairman Kevin Abernethy said, “this board and I will ensure that appropriate prosecutorial action is taken.”
Nov. 13, 2013 — Don Balfour was suspended from the Georgia Senate today over expense account discrepancies first reported by Atlanta Unfiltered in February 2012. Our examination of the senator’s 2011 expense account found Balfour had claimed per diem and mileage reimbursements for several days when he was out of state and therefore ineligible for them. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution later dug up similar examples from prior years.
The Senate Ethics Committee order Balfour to pay a $5,000 fine over the discrepancies, and a Fulton County grand jury indicted him in September for 18 counts of making false expense claims. Records show Balfour’s campaign committee last year paid nearly $80,000 in legal fees to defend him in those cases.
Nov. 13, 2013 — Today, Georgia’s beleaguered Campaign Finance Commission decides just how badly it wants to learn about itself and its 2012 ethics settlement with Gov. Nathan Deal. On the table when the commission meets at 9:30 a.m.: A motion to formally ask State Auditor Greg Griffin to conduct a performance audit of the agency. Then the question will be: Should the commission do more to address allegations that Deal’s office dictated the outcome of an investigation into his 2010 campaign finances? “I’m certainly not taking anything off the table,” chair Kevin Abernethy said.
Before announcing his bid for governor, Sen. Jason Carter had raised an astonishing $468,000 in campaign donations in just three years, much of it from attorneys at Atlanta law firms. His grandfather, former President Jimmy Carter, other family members and fellow board members of the Carter Center kicked in nearly $41,000.
Carter’s campaign committee for governor registered with the state ethics commission on Nov. 6, 2013. The campaign’s treasurer is Bess Weyandt, executive director of Startup Atlanta.
The Georgia Department of Human Services paid Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore, the law firm that employs Carter, nearly $10.5 million in fiscal years 2010 and 2012. The firm also did $188,500 of legal work in FY2012 for the University of West Georgia. Carter does not hold a fiduciary position at the firm, so he is not required to disclose the payments.
Natalyn Archibong paid a $250 fine in September 2013 for failing to disclose payments from her city expense account to her brother Warren’s business. The fine could have been higher, investigative files show, but for her cooperation and the timing of a complaint about the transactions.
City Council President Ceasar Mitchell, by way of contrast, paid $15,000 in fines and restitution in 2009 for a similar violation. The key difference: Archibong’s brother appeared to make no profit. With a minor exception, she said, her brother simply passed the money — in cash — on to other vendors.
Natalyn Archibong’s largest bloc of campaign contributions came early in her first term. In October 2003, her campaign received $17,500 from owners and executives of The Sembler Co., developer of the Edgewood Retail District, an 800,000-square-foot shopping complex that initially faced heavy opposition from neighborhood residents. Archibong was heavily involved in negotiations with the developer before the council agreed to rezone the site. Most of the donations came in October 2003, six months after the council voted unanimously to approve the Sembler project.
Christian Enterkin’s campaign through Oct. 25 had raised nearly $25,000, more than half of which came from airport concessionaire Wassim Hojeij, his employees and affiliated businesses.
News reports have raised questions about Enterkin’s objectivity on community billboard issues in that her employer, Landmark Dividend LLC, buys property leases for billboards, cellphone towers and other interests. Property records show Landmark with recent transactions at a half-dozen locations in DeKalb and Fulton counties. Enterkin, Landmark’s vice president for acquisitions, has accused the source of the reports — Atlanta Progressive News editor Matthew Cardinale, who’s accepted paid advertising from incumbent Natalyn Archibong, of being her “paid operative.”
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