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Rep. Joyce Chandler (HD 105): Disputed tax liens top $525K

Rep. Joyce Chandler (HD 105): Disputed tax liens top $525K
October 20, 2016 --

Oct. 20, 2016 — Rep. Joyce Chandler and her husband owe more than a half-million dollars in back income taxes, federal tax collectors say, and the amount appears to be growing.

The IRS in July filed a lien for $519,000 including interest and penalties, just the latest development in a decade-long attempt to collect taxes from the legislator and her husband, Martin.

“It was all my deal. She had nothing to do with it,” Martin Chandler said.

HD 105 candidate Donna McLeod: Racial gerrymandering alleged

HD 105 candidate Donna McLeod: Racial gerrymandering alleged
October 20, 2016 --

Oct, 20, 2016 — Donna McLeod — a plaintiff in a suit alleging political gerrymandering of local posts in Gwinnett County — says district lines were also redrawn to help her opponent in a state legislative seat.

McLeod is running against Rep. Joyce Chandler, a Republican who’s won two close elections by about 550 and 800 votes. A 2015 redistricting removed a majority-minority precinct where Chandler lost by more than 600 votes the year before and added two precincts where white voters outnumber minorities by more than 3-to-1.

Rep. Brooks Coleman (HD 97)

Rep. Brooks Coleman (HD 97)
May 22, 2016 --

Brooks Coleman, chairman of the House Education Committee since 2005, has raised more than $36,000 in campaign donations from education interests. The amounts are about equally divided between public school advocates and those promoting charter schools and privatization.

Other Republican legislators have donated much more to Coleman’s campaigns over the years, with slightly more than $100,000 in contribution.

Ex-Sen. Don Balfour: Georgia’s $100K senator

Ex-Sen. Don Balfour: Georgia's $100K senator
November 13, 2013 --

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.

Click here to read our original report on Balfour’s expenses and here to see our Transparency Profile of Balfour posted a few days later.

Report: Tax-funded private scholarships a ‘failed experiment’

Report: Tax-funded private scholarships a 'failed experiment'
June 7, 2011 --

Many Georgia students have enrolled in public school in recent years without ever attending class, solely to take advantage of a 2008 state law creating tax-subsidized scholarships for pupils in private schools.  Legislators have described that practice as a legal but unintended consequence of the statute, which was purportedly intended to give children in failing public schools the chance for a private education that they otherwise couldn’t afford. But, in a report released today, critics charge the law creating so-called “student scholarship organizations” (SSOs) was crafted specifically to help pay for students to remain in private school.

DeKalb spokesman resigns after calling N.J. cop shooting ‘murder’

DeKalb spokesman resigns after calling N.J. cop shooting 'murder'
July 26, 2010 --

DeKalb County chief communications officer Shelia Trappier Edwards resigned today, a few days after making news by declaring a police shooting in Newark, N.J., to be “murder.”

Gwinnett judge must assess ‘systemic breakdown’ in defender system

Gwinnett judge must assess 'systemic breakdown' in defender system
June 28, 2010 --

A Gwinnett County judge must decide whether “an actual breakdown in the entire public defender system” has denied an accused murderer a speedy trial, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled today. District Attorney Danny Porter indicted Khanh Dinh Phan in 2005, but the state has never paid lawyers hired to represent him in the killing of a Lilburn man and his 2-year-old son.

Was ID theft to blame for DeKalb commissioner’s fraud charges?

Was ID theft to blame for DeKalb commissioner's fraud charges?
February 2, 2010 --

DeKalb County Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton says identity theft might be the cause of her recent troubles over bad checks in Gwinnett County. But signatures on the four bounced checks look quite similar to Sutton’s signature on campaign disclosure documents on file at the Georgia secretary of state’s office. See for yourself …

Debt-ridden DK official says she spent $69K out of pocket on campaign

Debt-ridden DK official says she spent $69K out of pocket on campaign
January 28, 2010 --

Sharon Barnes Sutton’s paycheck was garnisheed in 2008 after she missed payments on her Lexus. Gwinnett County issued four arrest warrants for her over $1,000 in bounced checks in 2007. And she lost her $162,000 Stone Mountain home a few months ago when she couldn’t keep up with the mortgage. Still, Sutton reported spending $69,000 of her own money to run for the DeKalb County Commission, campaign records show. All this on a $43,000 schoolteacher’s salary.

Atlanta schools top peers – by far – in $100K+ salaries

Atlanta schools top peers - by far - in $100K+ salaries
January 19, 2010 --

Nearly 1,000 employees in five local school districts earned $100,000 or more in 2008-09, with the heaviest concentration by far in Atlanta Public Schools, an analysis of salary data shows. Administrative salaries face the knife across metro Atlanta as districts try to tighten budgets without harming classroom instruction. DeKalb last year paid more $100,000+ salaries — 223 — than any other Georgia district, followed by Fulton, Gwinnett, Atlanta and Cobb. For its size, though, Atlanta Superintendent Beverly Hall‘s district had more large salaries than the others.

Glenn Stephens, Gwinnett County administrator: $253,600

Glenn Stephens, Gwinnett County administrator: $253,600
September 4, 2009 --

Glenn Stephens, the new Gwinnett County administrator, signed a five-year contract this week worth $1.3 million. He’ll start with a base salary of $228,000 plus perks. The county will also pay the premiums for a 20-year term life insurance policy, but the contract does not specify the amount of the coverage. Read on and download the contract, if you like.

Committee for Missing Children officials: David & Karen Thelen, $132,822

August 12, 2009 --

This Gwinnett County-based group spent 86 cents of every dollar on professional fund-raisers — not missing children. Much of what was left went to CEO David Thelen and his wife.