July 11, 2016 – Vendors and companies with business before DeKalb County officials kicked in tens of thousands of dollars in undisclosed donations to fund a county commissioner’s pet community projects, newly available public records show.
At least $44,000 was collected on behalf of Commissioner Stan Watson from 2011 to 2014 from such companies, including water and sewer vendors, pension investment managers and companies seeking tax breaks and land-use decisions from the county.
Atlanta Unfiltered obtained records naming many donors to the Watson’s fund, unidentified until now, from the state ethics commission through a request under the Open Records Act. The commission last month dismissed a complaint against the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, which acted as fiscal agent for the fund, but is conducting a preliminary inquiry into Watson.
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.