Two DeKalb County housing officials were cleared Wednesday of ethics charges stemming from their solicitation of political and charitable contributions from a private developer. George Maddox and Dorothy Williams, both board members of the DeKalb Housing Authority, each accepted $2,500 in donations from the developer. The DeKalb Board of Ethics found no evidence that the transactions influenced their official actions.
What’s the difference between an apparent conflict of interest and the real deal? In the world of government ethics, it’s all about the language crafted by the lawyers and the wiggle room they’ve left for other lawyers to argue about. Ethics codes in Georgia vary from one jurisdiction to another. Many prohibit a public officer from trading on his or her position for personal benefit but, as they say, the devil’s in the details.
The DeKalb County Housing Authority — already beset with questions about gifts of money or services from vendors — may be about to hire another vendor as its next executive director. If Eugene P. “Pete” Walker Jr. becomes DeKalb’s new public housing chief, he will oversee the job performance of his current employer, Mercy Housing Southeast, a non-profit paid to manage several of the authority’s properties. He’s currently Mercy’s president. Walker, one of three finalists for the housing job, also runs Millennium Development Partners, a for-profit company that does financial and bond consulting for the housing authority. Read on…
Two DeKalb County housing officials face an ethics inquiry into their requests for charitable and political donations from a developer doing business with their agency. An Oct. 19 hearing is scheduled for Dorothy Williams and former state Rep. George Maddox, both members of the DeKalb County Housing Authority’s board, who asked developer Dave Dixon to give to various causes. Dixon said he or his business gave them each $2,500 for a total of $5,000.
Sterling Bethea, the executive director of the DeKalb County Housing Authority, resigned Tuesday as federal investigators continued to pore over the agency’s financial records. “He just decided that he wanted to move on,” board member George Maddox said, “and to be honest with you we didn’t have a problem with it.”