DeKalb County taxpayers forked over more than $34,000 to the boyfriend of Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton, mostly for his advice on how to be a commissioner.
An Atlanta Journal-Constitution examination of elected officials’ discretionary funds turned up a series of payments to two companies owned by Warren Mosby, who also was Sutton’s campaign manager.
Their romantic relationship had long been rumored but it didn’t become public record until the two were involved in a domestic dispute early this year. Sutton told a police officer that the two had been in a seven-year relationship, extending back before she took office.
Sutton could not produce any documentation of the advice he provided that was worth thousands of dollars to taxpayers. Neither she nor Mosby would speak to their past relationship.
In a letter to the AJC, Sutton wrote that Mosby’s companies, HSI Systems & Consultants and RighThink Associates, are well-known “in developing literature, outreach and programming in a variety of programs to serve the residents of District 4.”
Ethics experts say the arrangement may have violated the county’s ethics code and a complaint to that effect is pending against her.
Steve Anthony, a professor at Georgia State University who follows DeKalb County government, said Sutton may not have violated any laws, but it’s sure to rouse suspicions among her constituents.
“It should raise red flags with the voters,” he said, “because why the hell are you paying your boyfriend for advice when you could get it for free?”