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Nov. 30, 2016 — Former DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis’s conviction for perjury and attempted extortion was overturned today by the Georgia Supreme Court.
Here’s court spokeswoman Jane Hansen’s excellent-as-always summary of the decision (and a link to the court’s full opinion).
Nov. 10, 2016 — House Speaker David Ralston would receive a reprimand but no suspension for violating State Bar rules, according to papers filed today with the Georgia Supreme Court.
Ralston, who practices law in Blue Ridge, admitted improperly advancing $22,000 to a client who’d waited years for his case to come to trial. The speaker paid the money from his firm’s trust account, also a rule violation.
“Whether Ralston’s actions in advancing money to the Chernaks were the result of ignorance as contended, negligence, or an attempt to placate an increasingly frustrated client, the conduct clearly violates the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct,” special master Jon Peters wrote in his 20-page report to the high court.
July 20, 2016 — FethullahGülen, the exiled cleric accused of fomenting last week’s failed coup attempt in Turkey, is also the man behind three former Fulton County charter schools that lost their taxpayer subsidies a few years back amid findings of financial misconduct.
June 9, 2016 — House Banking Chairman Greg Morris has settled a federal complaint over his role in the 2012 failure of a south Georgia bank.
Morris and other board members of the defunct Montgomery Bank & Trust, through their attorneys, filed court papers June 3 acknowledging that the settlement with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was completed.
May 27, 2016 — Rep. Ron Stephens has agreed to pay a modest fine for failing to list ownership of four businesses on his financial disclosures.
In January, Stephens amended his disclosures for 2012 through 2014 to add four companies to the businesses in which he owned an interest. The Garden City Republican said he knew the new filing might lead to a complaint “but I wanted to be honest. … I didn’t want to keep anything hidden.”
By JIM WALLS May 25, 2016 — Allegations of mishandling campaign money appear to have cost Rep. Earnest Smith his seat in the Georgia Legislature. In Tuesday’s Democratic primary, Smith lost his bid for a fifth term in the Georgia House of Representatives, 57% to 43%, to retired postal worker Sheila Clark Nelson. The state […]
May 12, 2016 — Former Atlanta Falcon Leonard Gotshalk is one of the Americans who’s been found to have bought an offshore company, the Center for Public Integrity reports. Gotshalk bought the company just three days after federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment charging him with financial crimes
April 20, 2016 — Cobb County school board member David Morgan acknowledged last year that he filed no campaign disclosures for nearly four years, agreeing to a payment plan for $3,600 in civil penalties.
He hadn’t paid a penny, though, until we called him about it last week.
March 14, 2016 — A Senate committee took no action today on a bill to guarantee insurance agents a minimum commission for selling health coverage to small businesses.
The bill — championed by House Rules Chairman John Meadows — was highlighted Sunday by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a prime example of a bill that would benefit its legislative backers. Meadows is a Calhoun insurance agent.
Feb. 25, 2016 — By law, Georgia legislators may not accept campaign donations from supporters or others hoping to curry favor during their annual 40-day session.
So why did Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson’s campaign website say that he could?
Feb. 16, 2016 –– A bill allowing local political candidates to file old campaign disclosures without penalty passed out of a Senate committee today.
The Senate Ethics Committee, without discussion, voted 6-1 to approve the legislation sponsored by Rep. Barry Fleming.
Jan. 28, 2016 — Georgia’s appellate court judges could retire at age 60 under a bill passed out of a House committee Wednesday.
Fleming said the lower retirement age would encourage the best young lawyers to take a pay cut to leave a lucrative law practice for a judicial appointment.
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Some criminals have their photos and crimes plastered all over the Internet, so people know who they are and what they did. Not politicians -- until now. The Crooked Politician Registry is an archive of info on public servants who crossed the line.
do it yourself corruption investigation
Most public corruption cases in Georgia are prosecuted in federal court. The U.S. attorney for North Georgia, including metro Atlanta, has an excellent Web site with archived news releases on prominent cases.
Federal court files may be searched online for a nominal fee through PACER. (The first $10 a year of searches are free.)
With the right keywords, online search engines will also turn up news releases or court rulings on a particular case at no cost.