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Campaign finance panel fines DeKalb commissioners Sutton, Watson

Campaign finance panel fines DeKalb commissioners Sutton, Watson
August 9, 2011 --

DeKalb County Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton failed to disclose more than $101,000 in contributions to her campaigns in 2006 and 2008. For that, she agreed Friday to pay a $2,500 fine. Then-state Rep. Stan Watson, a fellow commissioner, also agreed to a $1,500 fine Friday for raising campaign money while the state Legislature was in session.

Who could say ‘no’ to more jobs for Georgia?

Who could say 'no' to more jobs for Georgia?
October 31, 2010 --

Just as the National Lampoon twisted arms in 1973, state lawmakers are asking voters Tuesday to amend the state Constitution to bring jobs to Georgia. When they ask that way, who could say no? Evidently, lawmakers fretted that Georgians could. The legislative history shows they tweaked and prodded the ballot question for Amendment 1 until limitations on competition, which are generally barred by the Georgia Constitution, now appear to make the state more competitive.

Amendment 1 not personal, spouses say

Amendment 1 not personal, spouses say
October 25, 2010 --

Claudia Levitas serves as an officer of a business group pushing to enforce non-compete clauses in Georgia law. Her husband, state Rep. Kevin Levitas, has been pushing a constitutional amendment for years to do just that. Their relationship has bubbled up into the debate over Amendment 1, which Georgia voters will be asked to ratify next week at the polls. Critics suggest Levitas (D-Tucker) had a personal motive for proposing the amendment and a companion bill, a notion that he dismisses as “unfounded and ridiculous.”

2 DeKalb housing officials face ethics probe over donations

2 DeKalb housing officials face ethics probe over donations
September 16, 2010 --

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.

Summerhill non-profit sues founder after IRS audit

Summerhill non-profit sues founder after IRS audit
September 6, 2010 --

Infighting and tax troubles threaten the future of a citizens’ group founded to improve the Summerhill community near Turner Field. The Summerhill Neighborhood Development Corp. has sued its founder, former state Rep. Douglas Dean, alleging he secretly pledged the nonprofit’s property to back $2.4 million in bank loans — now in default — to benefit a private developer. The non-profit, according to the suit, “now faces the very real possibility of losing substantially all of its real property assets.” In addition, federal tax records list $470,000 in unsecured, interest-free loans from the non-profit to Dean and his wife, and $50,000 to the group’s new CEO. Dean says those payments were reimbursements of money he loaned the non-profit over the years. IRS auditors could find little or no documentation for those debts.

Politicians win by playing ‘stall’

August 9, 2010 --

Most of us would get in a whole heap of trouble for spending tens of thousands of dollars that don’t belong to us. But for politicians, the world is often kinder, gentler and more forgiving. Case in point: Former state Rep. Pam Stanley, who paid for an apartment, cable TV service and a car rental and withdrew $38,000 in cash from her campaign account from 1999 to 2002. Stanley agreed to $65,100 in fines and restitution, but she hasn’t paid a nickel. A judge last week ordered Stanley to pay up.

Michael Mills, Angela Moore, Georganna Sinkfield, candidates for Secretary of State: ????

June 18, 2010 --

We can’t say for sure for sure how much these three earned last year. That’s because they have neglected to file the disclosure report required of candidates for secretary of state. The disclosures were due May 7 — a week after they qualified to run for secretary of state.

Ethics board gains work; staffing stays the same

June 14, 2010 --

Four powerful Georgia lawmakers each reported getting a $2,300 campaign donation from one of Georgia’s largest title-pawn lenders in 2008, but the donor never disclosed giving the money. The lender disclosed a $2,300 donation to then-state Rep. Stan Watson – but the lawmaker never reported getting it. For that matter, Watson never disclosed what happened with $45,000 from his […]

Pat Toomey, ex-Club for Growth president: $680,094

Pat Toomey, ex-Club for Growth president: $680,094
May 25, 2010 --

This Washington-based advocacy group made its name by endorsing a handful of candidates, primarily in House and Senate races, and serving as a conduit for donors across the country to support them financially. It’s put more than $300,000 into Georgia’s 9th Congressional District race on behalf of former state Rep. Tom Graves. It’s also worked out well financially for Pat Toomey, a former three-term congressman from Pennsylvania who became president of the Club for Growth in 2005.

One legislator = 8 years of unpaid taxes

One legislator = 8 years of unpaid taxes
March 10, 2010 --

Rep. Roberta Abdul-Salaam has racked up $22,381 in liens for unpaid federal and state income taxes for eight consecutive years. The state Revenue Department executed the latest lien Jan. 25, shortly after reporting that a House member had not filed a 2008 tax return, but officials aren’t saying whether it’s her. “I don’t have money,” Abdul-Salaam said. “I struggle like most of my constituents, but I never run from my obligations.”

Ethics panel’s Proctor sued for alleged lease default, fraud

February 19, 2010 --

Robert Proctor, who resigned a week ago from the State Ethics Commission, is being sued for allegedly defaulting on his law firm’s office lease and fraudulently transferring its assets to a new firm. The complaint seeks damages under the Georgia Fraudulent Transfer Act.

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.