DeKalb Commissioners Strip $500K From Corruption Probe | WABE 90.1 FM

DeKalb Commissioners Strip $500K From Corruption Probe

Jul 23, 2015

The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners Tuesday opted to hold $500,000 in funding from a special investigation into allegations of corruption. Announced in March, the probe came at the request of Interim CEO Lee May, left, and was being led by former Attorney General Mike Bowers.
Credit Lisa George / WABE

The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners have opted to pull hundreds of thousands in funding for a special corruption investigation, a move board member Nancy Jester called a “delay tactic” to avoid scrutiny.

Before commissioners approved the county's $1.3 billion mid-year budget Tuesday, they stripped out $500,000 for an ongoing probe into corruption allegations against county officials and staffers.

“The commissioners that are hemming and hawing on this are trying to keep disclosure at bay,” says Commissioner Jester, who opposed the move. 

“To come around and say, 'Oh but I have a question about this investigation because I'm such a great financial manager, and I'm so careful with taxpayer dollars,' those things are not congruent,” Jester says.

Back in March, Interim CEO Lee May tapped former Attorney General Mike Bowers to lead the investigation. It would not have covered the commission, over which May has no control, though Jester had previously pushed a proposal to expand the investigation to the legislative branch. Those efforts ultimately failed.

Bowers declined to comment.

The interim CEO’s representative Burke Brennan says as of May the county received two invoices from Bowers totaling $289,000, which have both been paid.

The commission also stripped another $200,000 for the district attorney's office to hire four people for his public integrity unit.

Commissioners said they'll consider allocating the money in the future if the expenses can be justified.