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Rep. Mike Glanton (HD 75): No quid pro quo intended in schools contact
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Michael Eugene Glanton Sr. (D-Jonesboro)
District 75 (Clayton County)
House leaders found Mike Glanton did not violate ethics rules in 2015 when he appeared to be leveraging his public role as a legislator to generate some private business. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t come close.
Glanton denied any ill intent, and the House Ethics Committee dismissed a complaint against him because Glanton’s employer didn’t wind up benefiting from his actions.
The case prompted Ethics chair Joe Wilkinson, though, to send out a three-page warning to House members: “Linking your legislative service with your private business endeavors will often create an appearance of impropriety or improper conduct whether one is intended by the member or not. … The best rule to follow is to not link your legislative position in any manner with your private business activities.”
Glanton declined to comment to Atlanta Unfiltered on the matter. “I have no interest in prolonging that,” he said.
The controversy stemmed from efforts by Glanton, then an executive of a company recruiting foreign teachers for Georgia schools, to meet with newly hired Atlanta School Superintendent Meria Carstarphen. In an April 2015 email, Glanton introduced himself as both COO of Global Teachers Research and Resources Inc. and as a legislator serving on education committees who would be “involved in conversations” about a possible state takeover of struggling local schools.
When Carstarphen asked her staff about the email, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, human resources director Pamela Hall told her Glanton was “trying to use his influence as a legislator” to hang on to a $1.1 million contract that the district had decided not to renew.
Common Cause Georgia, noting that state law bars legislators from using their offices for personal gain, lodged a complaint after the AJC broke the news about the email. House leaders from both parties concluded there was insufficient evidence that Glanton’s actions crossed the line, in part because he never met with Carstarphen and didn’t save the contract.
“I couldn’t find a smoking gun,” Wilkinson told the AJC. “There was no quid pro quo.”
Glanton apologized for the “misunderstanding” in a letter to Wilkinson, the AJC reported. “I realize now,” Glanton wrote, “that my email made it appear that there was a connection between the [business-related and legislative] communications when none was intended by me.”
The legislator said he left the company in 2015, although his LinkedIn profile and the company’s website still list him as its chief operating officer. Global Teachers’ owner said last year she was seeking a buyer after the AJC reported on unequal working conditions for its imported teachers.
Glanton did not file disclosures of his personal finances, as required by law, when he ran for the Senate in 2010 and for the House in 2012. More recent disclosures have omitted his role on the boards of two non-profits — House of Dawn Inc., helping teen mothers, and Alzheimer’s Services Center Inc. — that he had disclosed at one time. Although he remains on both boards, Glanton said he has a “very distant” relationship with them and has nothing to do with their finances. Together, the non-profits have collected $1 million from the state since 2010.
Glanton has also failed to disclose his role since 2007 as CFO of the Clayton County Boys & Girls Foundation. He said the non-profit, which last renewed its corporate registration in 2014, is inactive.
- Elected to the House in 2006, winning a Democratic primary 51-49%; re-elected in 2008 without opposition.
- Lost a 2010 bid for the Senate, finishing with 32% behind winner Gail Davenport.
- Elected to the House again in 2012, defeating incumbent Yasmin Neal 56-44% in the Democratic primary; re-elected in 2014 without opposition.
- Won his 2016 Democratic primary, 70-30%.
- Appropriations (2013 – present)
- Defense & Veterans Affairs (2007 – 2010, 2013 – present)
- Education (2013 – present)
- MARTA Oversight (2017- )
- Public Safety (2013 – present)
- Children & Youth (2007 – 2010)
- Transportation (2007 – 2010)
- Ways & Means (2009 – 2010)
- President/CEO, Longbridge International Consulting LLC.
- Former chief operating officer, Global Teacher Research & Resources Inc.
Business ownership interests
- None disclosed.
Other fiduciary positions
- Board chairman, Elite Scholars Academy Charter School. The school voted in January 2016 to close rather than seek renewal of its charter as a non-profit.
- UNDISCLOSED: CFO, Clayton County Boys & Girls Foundation Inc.
- UNDISCLOSED: Board member, House of Dawn Inc., non-profit helping teen mothers. (Glanton’s disclosures for 2012 and 2013 reported that he was he board’s chairman.)
- UNDISCLOSED: Board member, Alzheimers Services Center Inc., non-profit (Glanton last disclosed this role in 2009.)
Real estate holdings
- Personal residence in Jonesboro valued at $86,000.
- None disclosed.
Payments from state agencies
- Glanton’s former employer, Global Teacher Research and Resources Inc., collected $37.3 million from 20 local school districts in Georgia between 2010 and 2015.
- House of Dawn Inc., a Jonesboro non-profit helping teen moms, has received $893,000 from the state Department of Family and Children Services since 2010. Glanton sits on the board.
- Alzheimer’s Service Center Inc., a Morrow-based non-profit, has received $107,000 since 2010 in federal funds administered by the state Department of Early Care and Learning.
Friends and Family
- Glanton’s wife, Pearla, has been an administrator at the Clayton County Water Authority since 2007.
- Ex-Sen. Gail Buckner was CEO of the Clayton County Boys and Girls Foundation, now inactive, was Glanton was its CFO.
Glanton has raised more than $135,000 in political donations since 2006. He also loaned his campaign $25,050 from 2012 to 2014; $3,600 was paid back in 2012 but his disclosures did not reduce the balance of the debt accordingly. The donation breakdown by election cycle:
- 2006: $7,208
- 2007-08: $17,735
- 2009-10: $42,726
- 2011-12: $26,160
- 2013-14: $25,136
- 2015-16: $16,270
- Reported cash on hand (April 2016): $344
- $3,300 Ex-Rep. Kevin Levitas & other Democratic lawmakers
- $7,000 Dr. Paddy Sharma, Jonesboro, Ga., CEO Global Teachers Research & Resources Inc.
- $5,000 American Federation for Children
- $5,500 Fincher Denmark & Williams LLC, Jonesboro, Ga., law firm
- $5,000 Alan & Mike Vigil, auto dealers
- $4,600 Michael Brown & Stan Foster, board members, Alzheimers Services Center Inc., Morrow, Ga.
- $3,000 Associated General Contractors of Georgia
- $2,900 Georgia Association of Realtors
- $2,750 Sushumna Chander, Lawrenceville, Ga., CEO Exceed Management Group Inc.
- $2,750 Georgia Trial Lawyers Association
- $2,550 Resurgens Orthopaedics
Glanton’s campaign has reimbursed him or his wife, Pearla, $2,164 without specifying the end recipient of the funds as required by law.
Candidates may give campaign funds to other candidates, a practice that some say provides a legal means to circumvent contribution limits. A 2003 bill to ban such transfers passed in the Senate but died in the House. Glanton’s campaign made these donations:
- 2008: $2,000
- 2009-10: $400
- 2013-14: $2,750
Since 2006, lobbyists have reported paying more than $4,600 for meals and other gifts for Glanton. The big spenders:
- American Federation for Children ($1,175)
- Georgia Chamber of Commerce ($1,010)
- Georgia Forestry Association ($707)
Committee days & travel expenses
When out of session, legislators may collect $173 per day plus mileage for committee meetings or other official business. Those living within 50 miles of the Capitol are taxed on these payments, originally intended to cover out-of-town members’ food and lodging.
- 2007: $6,465 (31 days)
- 2008: $2,508 (13 days)
- 2009: $3,296 (17 days)
- 2010: $1,114 (6 days)
- 2013: $1,982 (10 days)
- 2014: $1,242 (6 days)
- 2015: $3,336 (16 days)
Updated Jan. 15, 2017