Valarie Wilson for superintendent: Late, missing disclosures
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Leaders in the public sector have plenty of public resources to promote their political views, accomplishments and experience. Often the public record holds much more: personal and campaign finance disclosures, expense reports, and business, tax and court filings. Here’s what they show:
Valarie D. Wilson
Wilson’s Democratic opponent for state school superintendent left required information off her personal financial disclosures for 2010 and 2011. Wilson didn’t file a disclosure at all in 2012 and filed her 2014 disclosure, due in March, on July 13 after Atlanta Unfiltered contacted her campaign staff to ask where it was. A staffer indicated Wilson had tried to file the 2014 report twice previously but did not respond to telephone messages seeking more information.
As of July 2014, Wilson appears to owe the state ethics commission $250 in late filing fees. State Rep. Simone Bell, Wilson’s campaign manager, said she paid $325 in late fees on Wilson’s behalf July 18 when ethics staffers told her that was all that she owed. (The remaining unpaid fees can be found under a different spelling of Wilson’s name.) The commission, for logistical and cost reasons, does not notify candidates when they owe late filing fees.
In 2012, Wilson testified in a federal reverse discrimination suit brought against Fulton County by Doug Carl, a deputy director who had worked for her at the county’s Department of Human Services. Wilson testified and signed an affidavit saying she’d heard secondhand that county Commissioner Emma Darnell had complained Wilson had “too many white boys” working for her. Carl, who alleged he was passed over for promotion after Wilson left, eventually won $1.65 million in damages and attorney’s fees.
- Served as director of Fulton County’s Office of Aging and Department of Human Services, resigning in 2006. She had worked her up from a job as an aide to Commissioner Michael Hightower.
- Elected to the Decatur Board of Education in 2001 with 52% of the vote, winning re-election twice and serving through 2013. The board elected to her to serve as its chairman from 2004 to 2011.
- Won the Democratic primary runoff for state school superintendent in 2014 with 54% of the vote over Rep. Alisha Morgan; faces Republican nominee Richard Woods in the November general election.
- Executive director of the non-profit Atlanta BeltLine Partnership, earning a salary of $157,586 in 2013.
Business ownership interests
- None disclosed.
Other fiduciary positions
- UNDISCLOSED CEO, Atlanta CLT Collaborative Inc., a land trust working to provide affordable housing in neighborhoods adjoining the BeltLine.
Real estate holdings
- Personal residence in Decatur valued for tax purposes at $507,000.
- None disclosed.
Payments from state agencies
- None disclosed.
Friends and Family
- Wilson’s mother-in-law, Elizabeth Wilson, served as a city commissioner and later mayor of Decatur from 1985 to 1999.
- Her husband, Carter Wilson, is athletic director at Decatur High School.
- State Rep. Simone Bell is Wilson’s 2014 campaign manager.
Donors have given more than $192,000 to Wilson’s campaign for state school superintendent.
- Reported cash on hand (Oct. 2014): $67,769
- $27,500 Nick Downey, principal, and other executives at Nead Werx Inc., software company
- $11,700 Bertis Downs, lawyer, Athens, Ga.
- $9,300 Georgia Federation of Teachers
- $8,900 Jim Kegley, manager Betty & Associates, real estate
- $8,500 Sumner Riddick, attorney, Avondale Estates, Ga.
- $6,625 Sen. Nan Orrock & other Democratic legislators
- $6,300 Doug Carl, manager at Georgia Department of Human Services
- $6,300 Georgia Association of Educators
- $6,000 Mitzi Bickers, Atlanta, Ga., political consultant
- $5,600 United Food and Commercial Workers
- $4,500 Alvin Ray Weeks, chair Weeks Robertson Properties
Wilson’s campaign reimbursed her husband, Carter, $664 for telephone expenses without reporting the end recipient of the funds, as required by campaign finance rules.
Posted by Jim Walls, July 16, 2014; updated Oct. 14, 2014