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.
Georgia’s Judicial Qualifications Commission got the bulk of a hefty budget cut restored for 2011, but it will lose its longtime director, former Rockdale County District Attorney Cheryl Fisher Custer. She declined comment on whether her departure is linked to criticism of her $82,560 salary for part-time work. “It’s just time to move on,” she said.
MULTIPLE CHOICE: When did Pat Pope, a central figure in the criminal investigation of DeKalb County school construction contracts, divorce her first husband?
- 2006 (after marrying husband #2)
NOT-SO-HELPFUL HINT: At one time or another, she’s cited each of those years as the correct date.
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.
It pays well to be Atlanta’s police chief. It pays better, apparently, to be raising money for the police. Dave Wilkinson, president of the Atlanta Police Foundation, made $215,500 in 2008, or 23 cents of every dollar it collected. That’s roughly $15,000 more than Police Chief Richard Pennington makes in a year.
Gwinnett’s new fire chief, George W. “Bill” Myers,” will start at an annual salary of $135,000 under an employment contract that takes effect Saturday. His pay range, though, extends upward to $177,914. Also, he’s eligible for a take-home car or a car allowance of $4,160 a year.
By MAGGIE LEE Ex-Grady Hospital CEO Otis Story claims state Rep. Pamela Stephenson secretly rewrote his contract so she could take his $600,000-a-year job and cut him out of his severance pay. In newly filed court papers, Story contends that Stephenson deleted three pages from his employment agreement and inserted a six-month probationary clause without […]
May 11 — Congressman Sanford Bishop’s stepdaughter did not report income that is the subject of a GBI investigation in Columbus, DeKalb County court records show. Aayesha Owens Reese and her husband were paid a total of $14,850 since 2007 by the Junior Marshal program of Muscogee County Marshal Greg Countryman, according to published reports. […]