DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis, one of metro Atlanta’s most powerful leaders, finally told jurors and the public his side of the story Wednesday, testifying in his corruption trial that he never retaliated against county contractors who refused to give campaign contributions.
It happened in 2012. Georgia won the SEC East and played Alabama for the conference title. Georgia Tech tied Miami and North Carolina for first in the ACC Coastal but, since the Tar Heels were ineligible and the Hurricanes chose in late November to remove themselves from postseason play, the Yellow Jackets advanced to meet Florida State in the league championship game.
See Flashback Fotos on myajc.com for only 99 cents. Visit the MyAJC archives for a historic look at Atlanta from Midtown in the 70s to Auburn Avenue and even life here before traffic jams on the interstates.
Two days after a man in Texas was diagnosed with Ebola, a Missouri doctor Thursday morning boarded a plane at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport dressed in full protection gear to protest what he called mismanagement of the crisis by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Attorney General Sam Olens was in Savannah for meetings in May 2011 when he took a charter flight back to Atlanta for a meeting with Gov. Nathan Deal.
That wouldn’t be all that noteworthy if not for the timing of the May 4, 2011 trip. It took place a day after the then-head of the ethics commission, Stacey Kalberman, presented commissioners with draft subpoenas seeking records related to complaints into his 2010 complaints.
A document obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution lists the reason for the flight, which cost about $1,295, as a “mandatory meeting called by Gov. Deal.”
Olens spokeswoman Lauren Kane said it was a “meeting with the U.S. Department of Defense relating to anti-terrorism” – and nothing to do with the ethics case.
That flight, Kane said, is the only flight Olens has ever taken on a state plane in more than three years in the job. The one-way hop helped him stick to a series of long-scheduled meetings from Brunswick to Savannah that day, she said.
“When the DoD called a couple of weeks in advance and needed to set the meeting for the afternoon of May 4, the only way Sam could attend the meeting while still keeping his commitments was to take a state plane from Brunswick. That flight was one-way, and Sam took a regular Delta flight back to Savannah after the meeting.”
Olens, who faces Democrat Greg Hecht in his re-election bid, is facing scrutiny over his role in the ethics probe and has issued a lengthy explanation seeking to explain his decisions in the case, including why an explosive memo written by Kalberman’s successor in 2012 was never sent to Kalberman and other whistleblowers suing the state.
Hecht, meanwhile, claims Olens is simply trying to “protect” the governor, a charge Olens has denied. Look for the Democrat to try to keep ethics at the center of his campaign.