Haley Bonds says she did everything she could think of to protect her 16-year-old daughter from the beatdown she was expecting at a youth jail in Northwest Georgia. Yet, just 20 minutes after a supervisor assured her Whitney Bonds would be safe, another officer called Haley
to say her daughter was “bleeding out” and being rushed to the emergency room. Two months later, Whitney says guards at the Rome RYDC used bribes of food to set one youth against another. “It’s like they’re dogfighting these kids,” her mother said.
The funds used to fly House Speaker David Ralston’s family to Europe last Thanksgiving were not taxpayers’ dollars — but, quite possibly, they used to be. Chris Brady, the lobbyist who paid for the $17,279 trip, is also a Georgia DOT subcontractor whose firm has pocketed at least $458,000 since 2007 as part of a team studying a possible high-speed Atlanta-to-Chattanooga transit line.
The state’s top two ethics investigators were preparing in June to serve subpoenas on Gov. Nathan Deal, his chief of staff and other associates in connection with Deal’s 2010 campaign when one investigator’s salary was cut and the other’s job was eliminated. Drafts of subpoenas prepared, but never served, by the staff of the state ethics commission raise questions about $322,000 the campaign paid to companies that Deal owns or has an interest in, or to businesses controlled by his associates.
Fellow travelers Vincent Fort and Jim Wooten are among those who think Sam Williams, president of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, needs to resign over the chamber’s complicity in covering up the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal. If he does, Williams will leave behind an annual salary nearing 7 figures.
House Speaker David Ralston, for the first time in five years, has disclosed his wife’s ownership of an undeveloped 10-acre tract in Dawson County. The speaker, who last week added the property to his financial disclosures, said he’d simply forgotten. What he still hasn’t reported is the more than $1 million he’s borrowed, using collateral that’s valued at less than half that much.
Georgia Southern University has rebuffed state Sen. Cecil Staton, demanding full payment for the school’s share of radio broadcast revenue and rejecting his effort to cut the debt in half. The university said Staton, who chairs the Senate committee overseeing its budget, still owes $53,000 and change.
Rep. Earl Ehrhart knows how to take care of his own. Ehrhart — CEO of a non-profit group that helps donors get state tax credits for gifts to religious schools — sponsored a new law in 2011 that raises the limit on those credits and eases restrictions on how contributions may be spent. The Cobb County lawmaker has never disclosed his role with the non-profit on disclosure forms mandated by state law.
Washington avoided a government shutdown last month, but ethics enforcers in Georgia soon will face the prospect of shutting down their key function — enforcing ethics laws. In fact, members of the State Campaign Finance Commission are already planning their legal defense in case someone sues them for failing to do their job.
Glynn judge’s bench now a hot seat Fulton tax commissioner personally profits from fees Sen. Staton looking into ‘Merkleson’ e-mail issue
Senate OKs sale of out-of-state health policies Ex-prosecutor to probe Gwinnett schools’ land deals Sen. Staton hands off GOP whip duties amid e-mail allegations Columbus rec services manager faces firing Suit challenges Augusta’s purchasing practices Legis committee recommends hiking JQC budget House OKs bills to close ethics loopholes OSHA fines Doraville hair, beauty supply businesses
The head of the Georgia Lottery made about a half-million dollars last year, but you wouldn’t know it if you checked salary data on the state auditor’s website. Open.Georgia.gov shows Margaret DeFrancisco was paid $353,500 in salary in FY2010. What it doesn’t tell you is that the lottery paid her a bonus of $143,276 last year. What’s up with that?
House Speaker David Ralston, staff and family enjoyed a $17,000 working holiday last Thanksgiving. So much for the idea of a $100 gift cap. Or for transparency. Lobbyist Chris Brady, representing Commonwealth Research Associates LLC, picked up the tab for hotels and airfare. A few weeks later, Brady took Ralston and staff to a $403 dinner. Other than that, official disclosures tell us nothing.