DeKalb County

News
5:45 pm
Fri August 28, 2015

DeKalb Expects Countywide Corruption Report Soon

Earlier this year, Interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May, shown, hired former attorney general Mike Bowers to look into county corruption.
Credit Jim Burress / WABE

    

Details about government corruption in DeKalb County could be revealed next week in a long-awaited report, according to Burke Brennan, a county spokesperson.

Earlier this month, former Attorney General Mike Bowers and investigator Richard Hyde, sent a scathing letter to the county, giving a sneak preview into their investigation.

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A Closer Look
4:28 pm
Fri August 28, 2015

WABE Legal Analyst Takes ‘Closer Look’ At High Profile Cases

DeKalb County Interim CEO Lee May and special investigator Mike Bowers are pictured at a press conference. A report by Bowers and Richard Hyde on government corruption is overdue.
Credit Lisa George / WABE

A former DeKalb County judge was indicted; then the charges were suddenly dropped.

The deadline for a report on DeKalb County government corruption by two special investigators has come and gone.

Colleges are back in session, and there’s already been two reports of sexual assaults at Kennesaw State University and an allegation of racial harassment by fraternity members at Georgia Tech.

WABE legal analyst Page Pate joined Rose Scott and Denis O’Hayer to discuss these issues and take a more in-depth look at the cases on “Closer Look.”

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Education
1:42 pm
Tue August 25, 2015

DeKalb Moves Testing Days After Pressure From Parents

The DeKalb County School District announced Tuesday it will change the dates of two mandatory standardized tests, after the original dates conflicted with Jewish and Muslim Holidays.
Credit Seth Perlman / AP Photo, File

The DeKalb County School District announced Tuesday it will change the dates of two mandatory standardized tests, after the original dates conflicted with Jewish and Muslim Holidays.

The district says it will move the Iowa Test of Basic Skills dates to earlier in September, while the Cognitive Abilities Test will move to early October.

DeKalb Schools had originally slated CogAT and ITBS testing from Sept. 8-11 and Sept. 14-25, respectively. Those dates conflicted with the Jewish Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, as well as the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha.

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A Closer Look
5:17 pm
Thu August 20, 2015

Police Killings Not All On Police, Says DeKalb’s Top Cop

Protesters gather in front of the Ferguson Police Department before the grand jury announcement on whether to indict a Ferguson police officer in the shooting death of Michael Brown.
Credit Charlie Riedel / Associated Press

Protesters and authorities clashed in St. Louis Wednesday night after an African-American man was killed by police earlier in the day. Officers went to a home to serve a warrant when a suspect, identified as Mansur Ball-Bey, pulled a gun on officers and was shot and killed, according to police.

Relations between some predominantly minority communities and police in several cities around the country have been contentious and fractured for some time, and escalated even more after the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., just over a year ago.

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Local
11:41 am
Thu August 20, 2015

Ga. Cities, Counties Investigate Email Links To Ashley Madison Cheating Website

In this June 10, 2015 photo, Ashley Madison's Korean website is shown on a computer screen in Seoul, South Korea. Hackers claim to have leaked a massive database of users from Ashley Madison, a matchmaking website for cheating spouses. In a statement released Tuesday a group calling itself Impact Team said the site's owners had not bowed to their demands.
Credit Lee Jin-man, File / Associated Press

Several Georgia governments say they're investigating after city, county and state agency email addresses were found in data hackers exposed from a website used by people trying to cheat on their spouses.

Hackers claim they've exposed unfaithful partners across the world, posting what they said were the personal details of millions of people registered with website Ashley Madison.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that several email addresses hosted by government servers for cities and counties across Georgia are included in the data released by hackers.

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A Closer Look
4:16 pm
Thu August 13, 2015

DeKalb Corruption Investigation May Continue After Final Report

Interim DeKalb CEO Lee May says the contents of the final report on DeKalb County government corruption could determine whether an ongoing investigation continues.
Credit Stephanie M. Lennox / WABE

The final report on DeKalb County government corruption is due out before the end of the month. Depending on what’s in the report from special investigator Mike Bowers, the investigation may continue, Interim CEO Lee May said.

May said recently there is no more funding for an ongoing corruption investigation, but he seemed to back off that statement during an interview on “A Closer Look,” in which he clarified the remark.  

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City Lights
11:04 am
Tue August 11, 2015

Atlanta United FC Complex Could Spur Growth In DeKalb County

This photo shows a rendering of the $30 million soccer complex to be built in DeKalb County. It will include the Atlanta United headquarters, a practice field and a 3,500 seat stadium.
Credit Atlanta United

DeKalb County's deal with Atlanta United FC to construct a $30 million soccer complex near the Kensington MARTA station represents yet another stadium building venture in metro Atlanta.

But while some Atlanta residents have grown wary of stadium deals and the sometimes destructive development that comes with them, Curbed Atlanta editor Michael Kahn says there is reason to be optimistic.

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Education
12:15 pm
Fri August 7, 2015

Ga. Students Make The Leap To A New Phase In Life

Some experts say transitioning from elementary to middle school and from middle to high school can be stressful for students.
Credit Dan Raby/WABE News

As a new school year begins, some students aren’t just changing grades; they’re changing schools.

Brothers Collin and Sean Lynch are both making that kind of transition this year. Collin will start kindergarten in Fulton County. He has an idea of what’s ahead.

“I bet kindergarten’s not going to have that much painting,” he says.

He’ll also take the bus for the first time. His mom, Melissa Lynch, says it’s a transition for her too.

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Opinion
11:44 am
Fri August 7, 2015

Hopefully, Soccer Team Can Help Unite Fractured DeKalb County

The Atlanta United soccer franchise plans to build its headquarters and $35 million training facility in DeKalb County. The DeKalb County Commission voted to approve the agreement with Atlanta United FC. It would involve a $12 million investment by the county.
Credit Atlanta United

The new Atlanta United soccer franchise announced Tuesday that it had chosen DeKalb County for its headquarters and $35 million training facility. The DeKalb Commission voted earlier that day to approve the agreement with Atlanta United FC, one that would involve a $12 million investment by the county.

"Finally, something good is happening in DeKalb County.”

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News
7:28 pm
Thu August 6, 2015

DeKalb CEO, Investigator Clash Over Corruption Probe Deadline

Mike Bowers, shown here on the right earlier this year in the “A Closer Look” studio with Denis O’Hayer, left, was hired to investigate allegations of corruption in DeKalb County’s government.
Credit Jason Parker / WABE

A new exchange of letters between interim DeKalb CEO Lee May and special investigator Mike Bowers reveals a fundamental dispute between the two about how long the government corruption probe headed by Bowers can continue.  In his message, May also sharply criticizes the language Bowers used in an earlier letter – in which Bowers said he found DeKalb County government “rotten to the core.”

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Politics
12:05 pm
Thu August 6, 2015

DeKalb Officials React To Allegations Of ‘Stunning’ Misconduct

Former Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers stands with Interim CEO Lee May as the DeKalb corruption investigation was launched in March.
Credit Lisa George / WABE

DeKalb County officials are reacting to a scathing letter that accuses the county's government of being "rotten to the core." It's part of an investigation into corruption in the county.

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Breaking
3:22 pm
Wed August 5, 2015

Report Calls DeKalb County Government ‘Rotten To The Core’

Credit DeKalb County

Update 6:00 p.m. with a statement from Interim CEO Lee May.

WABE has obtained a copy of a letter sent to DeKalb County’s Interim CEO Lee May, sent by the special corruption investigators he appointed, which says “The DeKalb County government we have found is rotten to the core.”  The letter also indicates the investigators feel they are being improperly – and perhaps illegally – blocked from completing their probe.

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Business
2:24 pm
Tue July 28, 2015

Decatur Water Boil Advisory Negatively Affects Businesses

The Slide in the City event, expected to bring thousands of people to Decatur, was shut down due to DeKalb County's water problems.
Credit IQRemix / flickr.com/IQRemix

A water boil advisory that was in effect for three days in DeKalb County hurt some local businesses.

The county issued the advisory because crews had to drop the water pressure three times within 36 hours to repair a transmission line that broke late Thursday. It all started last week when a fire hydrant was struck by a crew that was mowing the grass along the road near the transmission line at Henderson Mill and Evans Road.

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A Closer Look
4:51 pm
Mon July 27, 2015

Atlanta’s East Lake Neighborhood Model For Revitalization

Atlanta's East Lake neighborhood on the city's far east side is a model for community revitalization. It was once referred to as an urban nightmare and nicknamed Little Vietnam. Now it's a trendy place to live with shops, restaurants and access to public transit.
Credit Courtesy of East Lake Foundation

Atlanta’s East Lake neighborhood is a thriving community these days. It’s home to the PGA’s annual Tour Championship at the East Lake Golf Club. It’s one of the city’s more historic and trendy, yet family-oriented communities with affordable housing, shops and restaurants. It’s located about 4 miles from downtown with access to mass transit.

But this wasn’t always the case. In fact, it wasn’t so long ago that East Lake, located in DeKalb County, was once referred to as an urban nightmare and nicknamed “Little Vietnam.”

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Local
11:56 am
Mon July 27, 2015

DeKalb County Residents Still Under Boil Water Advisory

Residents of DeKalb County are being advised to boil water before drinking it, using it for cooking or preparing baby food.
Credit zeevveez / flickr.com/zeevveez

Residents of a metro Atlanta county are being told to boil their water as crews try to repair a broken water main.

DeKalb County officials said in a statement Saturday that crews are trying to repair the 48-inch water line and water pressure has been reduced three times within 36 hours — which could lead to water quality issues throughout the county.

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Local
8:00 am
Thu July 9, 2015

DeKalb County Kicks Off Mobile Farmers Market

DeKalb County unveiled it's new mobile farmers market on Tuesday. The market runs Tuesday through Thursday through Oct. 22.
Credit DeKalb County

A new mobile farmers market will roll its way through DeKalb County.

Starting this week, a remodeled yellow bus that used to belong to the DeKalb Sheriff's Department will begin to make stops throughout the county. The goal of the market is to carry fresh and affordable produce to residents who live in food deserts – areas without grocery stores or farmers markets.

County spokeswoman Emily Schwarz says the county hopes the mobile farmers market improves the health of DeKalb residents.

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Ellis Retrial
11:07 am
Wed July 8, 2015

Suspended DeKalb CEO Ellis Sentenced To 18 Months In Prison

Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in prison on charges he tried to strong-arm county vendors for campaign donations.
Credit Kent Johnson, Pool

  In front of a packed courtroom in DeKalb County Superior Court, suspended county CEO Burrell Ellis was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in prison on charges he tried to strong-arm county vendors for campaign money.

In sentencing Ellis, Superior Court Judge Courtney Johnson said she “struggled” with crafting a sentence because the trial was “unlike any case that I have handled since I took the bench.”

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Ellis Retrial
6:00 am
Wed July 8, 2015

Suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis Faces Sentencing

Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis, right, is set to be sentenced Wednesday in DeKalb County Superior Court.
Credit Kent D. Johnson, Pool

    

Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday in DeKalb County Superior Court, after a jury convicted Ellis on four criminal charges last week.

The jury of six men and six women unanimously found Ellis guilty of attempted extortion and three counts of perjury in his corruption retrial. He was on trial for strong-arming county vendors into donating to his 2012 re-election campaign. 

The trial was Ellis' second. The first ended in a mistrial, after the jury failed to reach a consensus on any of the charges brought against him.  

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Local
9:00 am
Fri July 3, 2015

DeKalb County Reduces Garbage Pickup To Once A Week

Dekalb County's Sanitation department will be distributing 65-gallon green garbage cans and blue recycling bins. Residents can upgrade for a $15 fee.
Credit Tasnim Shamma / WABE

Starting Monday, DeKalb County will pick up residential garbage, recycling and yard trimmings only once a week. 

The county says getting rid of twice a week service will save up to $6 million a year and prevent the need for a rate hike for customers. 

South DeKalb resident Cheryl Cherry-Hill said her personal garbage bins fill up twice a week, but she's also unhappy about the change for other reasons.

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Local
7:45 pm
Mon June 22, 2015

Suspended DeKalb CEO Keeps Composure In Cross-Examination

Facing tough questioning from the district attorney, suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis defended his honesty on the witness stand Monday during his corruption retrial.
Credit Kent Johnson / Atlanta Journal-Constitution

State attorneys got their chance Monday to question suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis in his corruption retrial, with prosecutors trying routinely to catch Ellis in a lie.

But the suspended CEO remained composed and confident as he justified his actions to the jury and rebuffed District Attorney Robert James’ tough, rapid questioning. Ellis maintained his honesty throughout, only going so far to say he once may have “misspoken.”

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Ellis Retrial
2:38 pm
Fri June 19, 2015

Suspended DeKalb CEO Continues Testimony In Corruption Trial

Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis again took the stand Friday in county superior court to continue testimony in his corruption retrial.
Credit Kent Johnson / Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis, who’s accused of strong-arming county vendors for political donations, took the stand in his corruption retrial once again Friday morning to continue telling his side of the story.

Almost sentence by sentence, Ellis’s attorney walked the suspended CEO through some of the secretly recorded conversations that make up the bulk of the state’s case against him. As he did in his first trial, Ellis stressed any issue he had with vendors was about responsiveness and respect for the CEO’s office, not about campaign donations.

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Ellis Retrial
3:26 pm
Thu June 18, 2015

Suspended DeKalb CEO Presents His Story On Witness Stand

Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis took the stand Thursday in county superior court to testify in his own defense. Ellis faces nine felony charges over allegations he tried to pressure county vendors of political donations.
Credit Kent Johnson / Atlanta Journal-Constitution

  Just as he did in his first corruption trial, suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis today took the stand in his retrial to refute charges he strong-armed county vendors for campaign donations.

On the stand, Ellis began painting a very different picture of his interactions with four county vendors who testified against him earlier in the trial.

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A Closer Look
3:51 pm
Tue June 16, 2015

Sandy Springs Mayor Offers Up Template For Incorporation

Fireworks light up the sky over the King and Queen Buildings in Sandy Springs, Georgia.
Credit City of Sandy Springs

Residents in DeKalb County will decide on two cityhood measures this year.

If the votes pass, LaVista Hills and Tucker will become the latest new cities in metro Atlanta over the past decade.

There’s already been seven new cities voted into existence over the past 10 years. That includes the city of Sandy Springs.

The city, located just north of Atlanta, is now the sixth largest city in Georgia and home to the new headquarters of luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz USA.

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Burrell Ellis Retrial
3:58 pm
Thu June 11, 2015

Witness: Ellis 'Like A Bully On The Playground'

Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis sits silently during the third day of witness testimony Thursday in county superior court.
Credit Kent Johnson / Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Like a playground bully who says, “Bring me your lunch money, or else.”

That’s how one of the state’s witnesses described his dealings with suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis Thursday, the third day of testimony in the elected county head’s corruption retrial.

Greg Shealey and his wife, Trina Shealey, were called into a meeting with Ellis back in October 2012 about issues with their company’s responsiveness. The couple own National Property Institutes, which had a $1 million contract with DeKalb County to buy and fix foreclosed homes.

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Local
12:38 pm
Fri June 5, 2015

Jury Seated In Retrial Of Suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis

Attorneys seated a jury Friday in the retrial of suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis. The jury is split evenly between men and women.
Credit Kent D. Johnson, Pool

A jury has been seated in the retrial of suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis, who’s accused of using his office to shake down county contractors for campaign donations.

Attorneys selected six men and six women to sit on the jury. Seven of them are African-American, while the remaining five are white. Four alternates were also chosen, all of whom are women.

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Burrell Ellis
6:00 am
Fri June 5, 2015

Attorneys Expect To Seat Jury For Ellis Retrial In DeKalb

Attorneys expect to seat a jury by Friday in the retrial of suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis, right.
Credit Kent Johnson / Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Friday is expected to be the final day of jury selection in the retrial of suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis.

After a week of culling through potential jurors, attorneys have narrowed the field down from about 200 to a few dozen. They’ll likely get that number down to the 12 jurors plus alternates needed for the trial to begin.

In his second trial, Ellis faces nine felony charges over allegations he was running a pay-to-play scheme with DeKalb County contractors, asking them to submit donations to his 2012 re-election campaign in exchange for business.

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Local
3:45 pm
Mon June 1, 2015

Jury Selection Underway In Retrial Of DeKalb CEO Ellis

Jury selection got underway today in DeKalb County Superior Court for the retrial of suspended CEO Burrell Ellis.
Credit Kent Johnson / Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Jury selection began today in DeKalb County Superior Court for the retrial of suspended county CEO Burrell Ellis.

Around 40 of the 200 or so potential jurors stood for questioning by the judge, prosecution and defense attorneys. Those who’d been called were asked whether they had prior knowledge of the case or had followed any coverage of Ellis’ first trial last fall.

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Local
6:00 am
Mon June 1, 2015

Second Burrell Ellis Trial Starts In DeKalb County

Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis' second trial starts Monday in DeKalb County Superior Court. Last year his first trial ended in a mistrial.
Credit Kent Johnson / Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis’ second trial starts Monday in DeKalb County Superior Court.

Ellis is accused of shaking down county contractors for donations to his 2012 re-election campaign. In his first trial last fall, he faced 13 felony counts of extortion, bribery, perjury and using county employees for campaign work.

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Features
7:12 am
Thu May 28, 2015

DeKalb Residents Ready To Fight For New Cities

The proposed city of Greenhaven would include about 300,000 people.
Credit Elly Yu / WABE

Editor's note: Read part one and part two of this series. 

Voters will decide this year on creating two new cities in DeKalb County. If passed, LaVista Hills and Tucker would be the eighth and ninth cities formed in metro Atlanta over the past decade. 

Supporters say incorporation is a better use of tax dollars, but not all in the county agree.

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Local
6:00 am
Wed May 27, 2015

DeKalb County Corruption Leads To New, Majority-White Cities

One place where the idea of city creation is at the forefront is DeKalb County. There are currently four different cityhood movements in the works.
Credit Alison Guillory / WABE

Editor's note: Read part one and part three of this series.   

Cityhood is a term you may have heard recently but didn’t really know what it meant.

It’s a quick way to explain the process of unincorporated parts of counties creating proposals to become their own cities. In the past decade there have been nine of these in metro Atlanta.

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