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After 10 years, Supremes disbar two ATL ambulance chasers

Two Atlanta attorneys who paid runners at least $276,000 over several years to bring them personal-injury clients were stripped of their right to practice law today by the Supreme Court of Georgia. Lawyers Steven C. Freedman and Thomas C. Sinowski, who had “zealously” litigated the case against them for 10 years, argued that even a one-year suspension was too much.

‘Tyrannical partiality’ ascribed to Brunswick drug court judge

'Tyrannical partiality' ascribed to Brunswick drug court judge

A coastal Georgia judge whose actions drew national attention now must defend herself against formal charges that she denied a suicidal defendant and others the right to due process and ignored conflicts of interest with her family members. Judge Amanda Williams’ conduct amounted to “tyrannical partiality,” the Judicial Qualifications Commission said today.

Ex-Fulton sheriff skates on $40K in illegal donations

Ex-Fulton sheriff skates on $40K in illegal donations

Eight years after the fact, former Fulton County Sheriff Jacqueline Barrett is off the hook for accepting $40,000 in illegal campaign contributions that played a part in her removal from office. The Georgia Campaign Finance Commission, acknowledging procedural errors, dismissed a complaint over the donations, which were associated with a shaky $7.2 million investment made with money under her control.

GA’s juvenile justice chief stepping down

GA's juvenile justice chief stepping down

Amy Howell, the first woman to head the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice, is stepping down after just 10 months on the job. Gov. Nathan Deal has named her general counsel for the Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities to help oversee a federal mental health settlement.

Delta Air Lines: $30 million

Delta Air Lines: $30 million

Delta Air Lines posted third-quarter profit of $549 million today, thanks to fare increases and strong corporate travel, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. So why exactly did Delta need a $15 million-a-year exemption from sales taxes on jet fuel? You’ll have to ask the Georgia General Assembly

Audit: Unexplained 911 delays cripple ATL fire’s response time

Audit: Unexplained 911 delays cripple ATL fire's response time

Atlanta firefighters take much longer than they should to respond to emergencies, measured against national standards, and the delays are getting worse. Training, more dispatchers and a 911 audit to ferret out the cause of extraordinary delays — not necessarily more firefighters — may be the best solution, city auditor Leslie Ward says.

Deal’s jobs program helps one more underemployed lawmaker

Deal's jobs program helps one more underemployed lawmaker

State Rep. Tim Bearden, previously known for collecting a $94,500 public paycheck with no contract or evidence of work, is Gov. Nathan Deal’s choice to run the Georgia Public Safety Training Center. If Bearden lands the job, he will have parlayed a razor-thin electoral victory seven years ago into a six-figure state salary plus benefits.

Univ. of West Ga. VP quits after $272K whistleblower firing

Univ. of West Ga. VP quits after $272K whistleblower firing

A top University of West Georgia official is resigning, two months after his termination of a whistleblower cost taxpayers $272,000. A state audit in April found that university VP Michael Ruffner had improperly hired Capitol Hill lobbyists and questioned the firing of an assistant who complained about it.


Feds find Ga.’s insurance reviews lacking

From Georgia Health News: Georgia doesn’t meet federal requirements on consumers’ ability to get a third-party review of their appeals against an insurer’s coverage decisions. That may mean Georgia by 2012 will have to contract with an independent review organization to handle consumer complaints or with the feds to oversee the process.

Ethics panel changes course, wants its own lawyer after all

The State Campaign Finance Commission has changed its mind and wants to hire a staff attorney after all, four months after firing its last one. The difference is, this one won’t make more than $55,000 a year and won’t be named Sherilyn Streicker, whose job was eliminated by the commission in June.

Inspector General pries into conflicts in prison contracts

Inspector General pries into conflicts in prison contracts

Consultant Michael Lovelady leased offices to a contractor while monitoring his installation of new locks at a south Georgia prison. Lovelady named his son’s business as one of three acceptable suppliers for the $638,000 job. Lovelady’s son owned half of the contractor’s company. But prison officials never noticed anything amiss, Inspector General Deron R. Hicks reported Monday.

Fed prosecutors: Toss S. Ga. judge’s guilty plea

Fed prosecutors: Toss S. Ga. judge's guilty plea

Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, a south Georgia judge soon will no longer be a convicted felon. In court filings, federal prosecutors say a 2010 ruling by the high court leaves no choice but to vacate a 2009 guilty plea by former Alapaha Circuit Superior Court Judge Brooks E. Blitch III.

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    Atlanta Mainstream goes deeper into news covered by the mainstream media -- posting documents to show the story behind the story.

  • do it yourself investigation

    You can look up liens for back taxes or other debts in the property record room at your county courthouse. For a fee, a statewide database of liens and property records can be searched online at the Georgia Superior Court Clerks' Cooperative Authority.

    The GSCCCA database is not foolproof, though. A thorough search of Fulton County's property records, for instance, will require a visit to the courthouse. That's because Fulton County's records are, to use a technical term, screwed up. Some fairly recent records have been lost so some lien cancellations, among other things, are not indexed properly. Some cancellations are not recorded by the clerk for a year of more after they are filed. In one instance, the tax commissioner did not cancel the lien after it had been paid off.