Burrell Ellis

10:01 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

DeKalb Ethics Board Launches Probes Into Two More Commissioners

The DeKalb ethics board is launching investigations into two more commissioners.

The DeKalb County ethics board Tuesday launched investigations into two more county commissioners over alleged misuse of county-issued credit cards. One commissioner is already under investigation.

The board voted to investigate thousands of dollars of charges by Commissioners Sharon Barnes Sutton and Commissioner Larry Johnson, as well as an aide to Barnes Sutton. Both commissioners say the purchases in question were for legitimate government business.

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DeKalb County
4:23 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Ethics Complaints Move Forward Against Ellis, Boyer, County Staffers

The DeKalb County Board of Ethics is moving forward with two separate ethics complaints against suspended county CEO Burrell Ellis. He also faces criminal corruption charges. Ellis's trial is scheduled to begin in early September.

The DeKalb Ethics Board will move forward with complaints against County Commissioner Elaine Boyer and suspended CEO Burrell Ellis.

The board approved investigation of two different complaints against Ellis. One relates to the criminal corruption case against him. The other alleges Ellis conspired with Director of Finance Joel Gottlieb and then-Director of Watershed Management Francis Kung’U to prevent accurate reading of water use at a condominium complex in Clarkston.

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DeKalb County
7:00 am
Thu May 8, 2014

DeKalb Board of Ethics To Hear Long List of Complaints

DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer is just one elected official in the county currently facing an ethics complaint.

The agenda for Thursday night's DeKalb County Board of Ethics meeting included complaints against the county’s suspended CEO, the acting CEO and a county commissioner.

A newly-reconstituted board will address those complaints and several others. This time last year, the DeKalb’s Ethics Board could barely meet, as it had only four of seven positions filled. But now there is a full complement, chaired by attorney John Ernst.

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4:20 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Contentious Hearings Wrap Up in DeKalb CEO Corruption Case

Suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis during a break at Tuesday's hearing.

Lawyers in the corruption case of suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis wrapped up two days of contentious pretrial hearings Tuesday. Much of the debate centered on what would be allowed as evidence in the upcoming trial.

Ellis' attorneys continued to argue District Attorney Robert James is politically motivated and should be removed from the case due to prosecutorial misconduct. They also said secretly captured audio and video of Ellis should be inadmissible because it was taken without his consent.

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3:34 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Alleged Ellis Video Focus of DeKalb Corruption Hearing

Suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis.

A pretrial hearing took place Monday in the public corruption case against suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis.

Ellis faces 14 felony charges alleging he shook down county contractors for campaign contributions.

At the hearing, Ellis’ attorneys argued District Attorney Robert James should be disqualified from prosecuting the case due to misconduct issues. They said James is politically motivated and may be withholding secretly captured video of Ellis. 

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3:56 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Bill Calling For Nonpartisan CEO Elections in DeKalb Voted Down, But Still Alive

Rep. Mike Jacobs, R-Brookhaven
Credit Ga. House of Reps.

The state House Thursday rejected Senate Bill 95 calling for nonpartisan CEO elections in DeKalb County, but the legislation can be considered again next week.

On the House floor, Mike Jacobs, R-Brookhaven, suggested the strong Democratic majority in DeKalb was hurting the county.

“There is no incentive for candidates for CEO to talk to Republican voters,” said Jacobs.

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Corruption Case Against Burrell Ellis
6:12 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

DeKalb CEO Tries to Get Case Against Him Thrown Out of Court

DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis in court
Credit WABE

Attorneys for suspended DeKalb County Chief Executive Officer Burrell Ellis spent the last two days trying to get the corruption case against him thrown out of court.

Defense attorneys say charges against Ellis should be dropped because Ellis has not been afforded the rights of a peace officer. That includes the right to attend the grand jury proceedings that led to his indictment.

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6:02 am
Fri January 24, 2014

DeKalb's Interim CEO Focuses on Ethics in State of the County Address

DeKalb County Interim CEO Lee May delivers the State of the County address Thursday night at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts & Community Center in Decatur.
Credit Lisa George/WABE

  Pre-trial proceedings in the theft and conspiracy case against suspended DeKalb County Chief Executive Officer Burrell Ellis took a full day in court yesterday.

Meanwhile, the man filling in for Ellis spent Thursday touting a new day for the county.

 Interim CEO Lee May presented his State of the County address not once – but twice – first to DeKalb business leaders and then the general public.

Most of his plans May has announced before: hiring more fire and police officers, beefing up code enforcement and streamlining the business permitting process.

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4:46 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Drama Continues In Case Against Suspended DeKalb CEO

Suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis

Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis and his attorneys mounted a fierce attack on county District Attorney Robert James in a pretrial hearing Thursday. 

Ellis is accused of pressuring potential county contractors to contribute to his re-election campaign in order to do business with the county.  Ellis has accused the district attorney of illegally videotaping him as part of the investigation—something James has denied. 

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6:00 am
Mon August 26, 2013

DeKalb Residents Weigh In on CEO Government

Indicted DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis
Credit DeKalb County

The unsealed grand jury report that lead to the indictment of suspended DeKalb county CEO Burrell Ellis also questions the need for DeKalb county to have a CEO. DeKalb county residents are beginning to weigh in 

Aleck Ragsdale reports.

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"The 5:44" with Denis O'Hayer
7:23 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

How DeKalb County Got a CEO: A Talk with Former CEO Liane Levetan

Former DeKalb County CEO Liane Levetan, in a photo from the Facebook page of the League of Women Voters of DeKalb County.

DeKalb County Chief Judge Gregory Adams this month unsealed a special grand jury report, outlining what the panel said were years of corruption in county water and sewer contracts.

Among the grand jury's recommendations:  the abolition of DeKalb's unique CEO form of government.  DeKalb adopted the CEO structure in 1986.  

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4:08 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Grand Jury Report Implicates 12 DeKalb Employees, Calls for Abolishing CEO Form of Government

Acting DeKalb CEO Lee May responding to the report this afternoon.

A highly-anticipated special grand jury report looking into alleged corruption in DeKalb County has been unsealed. It implicates suspended CEO Burrell Ellis, who is preparing for trial. The report also calls for further investigation into several past and present county officials, as well as abolishing DeKalb's CEO form of government.

The report was actually completed in January. Since then, Ellis and his attorneys have fought to keep it from public view.

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6:20 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Burrell Ellis Trial Delayed

DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis
Credit DeKalb County

The corruption trial of DeKalb County Chief Executive Officer Burrell Ellis has been put on hold.

The trial was set to begin August 19, but today DeKalb Superior Court Judge Courtney Johnson granted a request for a delay from Ellis's attorneys.

The judge has not yet set a new trial date.

Governor Nathan Deal suspended Ellis from office last month.

Ellis is charged with extortion, conspiracy, and theft. He is accused of trying to force vendors to contribute to his campaign fund in order to keep their contracts with the County.

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2:07 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

DeKalb Police Chief Suspends Ellis Security Detail

Suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis

Suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis will continue to earn his $150,000 salary as he fights extortion, theft, and conspiracy charges.

But what about his car service and security detail?

In an email, a county spokeswoman confirms DeKalb Police Chief Cedric Alexander has suspended Ellis’ home security detail and car service.

DeKalb District Attorney Robert James highlighted the issue before a state review panel that ultimately recommended Ellis be suspended.  

James said the security detail was a waste of taxpayer money.

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4:51 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Gov. Deal Appoints DeKalb Commission Chair Lee May To Replace Ellis As CEO

Gov. Deal has announced that he is suspending DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis (left) from office and replacing him with DeKalb County Commission chairman Lee May (right).

UPDATE 5:42 p.m.

A few moments ago, Gov. Nathan Deal suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis from office. It comes just weeks after Ellis was indicted on charges of extortion, conspiracy, and theft.

As a temporary replacement, Deal has appointed Lee May as DeKalb CEO. May has been serving as chairman of the DeKalb County Commission.

In a statement, Gov. Deal said:

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3:20 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

State Panel Recommends Suspending Ellis

DeKalb District Attorney Robert James (far left) makes opening remarks before the panel. DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis (far right, at the table) looks on.
Credit WABE

A state review panel is recommending the governor suspend indicted DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis.

Gov. Nathan Deal now has the authority to decide whether to follow the panel’s recommendation or allow Ellis to remain in office. A Deal spokesman says the governor will make a decision by the end of this week.

The three-member panel issued the recommendation after hearing from both sides of the case Monday morning.

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6:00 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Committee Meets Today to Consider Ellis Suspension

Mugshot of Burrell Ellis

A special state committee will hear evidence this morning that should help it decide whether to recommend DeKalb County’s Chief Executive be suspended from office.

DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis is under indictment for theft, extortion, and conspiracy. Ellis is accused of allegedly trying to strong-arm county vendors into contributing to his campaign fund.

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4:02 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Gov. Deal Names Ellis Review Panel

DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis
Credit DeKalb County

Gov. Nathan Deal has named a three-member panel which will determine if DeKalb County Chief Executive Officer Burrell Ellis should be suspended from office.

Attorney Sam Olens will serve on the panel along with Clayton County Commission Chairman Jeff Turner and Rockdale County Commission Chairman Richard Oden.

By state law, the three-member panel that will recommend whether Ellis stays in office while he is under indictment must be composed of the Attorney General and two public officials who hold the same office as the individual indicted.

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3:28 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Cityhood Advocates in DeKalb Cite Ellis Indictment to Strengthen Case

DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis

Residents frustrated with DeKalb County government have discussed the prospect of incorporating into cities for years.

The indictment of DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis appears to be putting fuel on the fire.

In a recent opinion piece in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the leaders of two cityhood groups – one in north DeKalb, the other in south DeKalb - cited the Ellis indictment as another reason not to trust the county with their tax dollars. 

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May Responds in Wake of Ellis Indictment
3:56 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

DeKalb Commission Head Considers Ethics Reform

Lee May serves as the Presiding Officer over the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners.
Credit Lee May

With DeKalb County’s Chief Executive Officer under indictment, the head of the county commission says “now is as right a time as it’s ever been” to consider ethics reform.

CEO Burrell Ellis faces more than a dozen felony charges for allegedly threatening to cut off county business to vendors unless they contributed to his re-election campaign.

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3:27 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Embattled DeKalb Chief Addresses Employees, Vows to Stay on Job

With wife Philippa beside him, embattled DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis addresses county employees.

Recently indicted DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis maintained his innocence Monday before hundreds of employees in an assembly hall at the county government building in Decatur. 

With his wife Philippa beside him,  the embattled chief executive said he would not be stepping down from his job.

“First foremost, I have done nothing wrong. I want you to hear that directly from me.”

He urged employees to “stay focused” and “not get distracted.” Ellis vowed to do the same and addressed concerns that he's been out of office too much, preoccupied with legal troubles.

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6:00 am
Mon June 24, 2013

DeKalb Residents React to Burrell Ellis Indictment

Mugshot of Burrell Ellis

DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis was indicted last week on 15 counts including extortion, theft and conspiracy. Aleck Ragsdale went to the Decatur Square over the weekend to ask DeKalb residents for their thoughts.

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12:08 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Metro Atlanta Leaders On Ellis Indictment

Mugshot of Burrell Ellis.

Metro Atlanta leaders are still expressing surprise and disappointment over Tuesday’s indictment of DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis on charges of extortion, theft, and conspiracy.

Fulton Commission chair John Eaves wouldn’t say whether or not Ellis should step down.

”I wish the best for Burrell Ellis. He’s a friend of mine. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family and I just hope justice will prevail.”

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed also declined to say whether Ellis should step down, adding he hadn’t yet read the 15-count indictment.

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5:59 am
Wed June 19, 2013

DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis Indicted for Extortion, Theft, Conspiracy

DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis
Credit DeKalb County

A grand jury Tuesday afternoon indicted DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis on felony charges of extortion, theft, and conspiracy.

Hours later, Ellis turned himself into the sheriff's office and was released on $25,000 bond.

In a business-like manner, DeKalb District Attorney Robert James read off the 15-count indictment at a late afternoon press conference in Decatur.

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5:36 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis Indicted

DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James announces the indictment of county CEO Burrell Ellis this afternoon.
Credit Jonathan Shapiro/WABE

UPDATE 6:10 p.m. -- WABE's Jonathan Shapiro has just filed an audio report on the indictment, which is posted above.  Also, we have received a copy of the indictment (PDF), which has been posted to our web site.

DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis was indicted by a grand jury today, according to the DeKalb County District Attorney’s office.

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New Site for DeKalb Animal Shelter
8:00 am
Sun June 2, 2013

Animal Advocates Want New DeKalb Shelter Located Near PDK

This dog is currently available for adoption (as of 5/31/13) through DeKalb Animal Services.
Credit DeKalb County Animal Services

DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis will make a recommendation to the DeKalb County Commission on Tuesday, June 4, on the location for a new animal shelter.

Animal advocates have been pushing for a new shelter for years, and now they are pushing for one particular location. 

There are 11 sites under consideration, but the group Advocates for DeKalb Animals says there is only one logical choice.

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6:35 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

New Police Chief Appointed in DeKalb County

New DeKalb Police Chief Cedric Alexander speaks while DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis looks on.
Credit Michelle Wirth

The DeKalb County Police department is getting a new police chief. County CEO Burrell Ellis appointed Cedric Alexander to the lead the embattled department this morning. Alexander has a doctoral degree in clinical psychology and previously served as Chief of the Rochester Police Department and as a police officer in Miami.

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12:05 am
Tue January 22, 2013

DeKalb Commission to Make Tough Budget Decisions

DeKalb County Commissioners will face tough choices as they begin weighing how to balance the 2013 budget Tuesday. 

As a result of declining property tax revenue and the incorporation of the city of Brookhaven, commissioners will have to consider spending cuts or a potential property tax rate increase proposed by DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis. The 1.9 percent millage rate increase would cost almost $49 more per year for owners of a $200,000 home. But Commissioner Jeff Rader is hoping to avoid that increase.

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3:07 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

DeKalb Officials Taken Off Guard By Police Search of CEO’s Home

DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis
Credit DeKalb County

A day after authorities searched the home and office of DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis, county commissioners said today they were taken off guard by the news.

DeKalb commissioner Elaine Boyer said she’s reserving judgment until the process plays out.

“Of course you’re surprised and shocked and no one wants to hear or see anything about it. And I’m going to hope for the best that the CEO is not responsible for these things. No one wants to see that.”

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4:12 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Authorities Raid Home of DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis

DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis

Authorities earlier today raided the home of DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis while he testified before a grand jury investigating county watershed operations.

Convened early in 2012, the grand jury is looking into allegations involving county watershed employees who were accused of accepting bribes from prospective contractors.

In a press conference, Ellis said he was unsure of what authorities may have been looking for, but says he and his staff have been fully cooperative with investigators.

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