Dekalb County, GA
It was "business as usual" at today DeKalb County Commission meeting a day after the home and county office of CEO Burrell Ellis were searched by police.
Dekalb Co. District 6 commissioner Kathie Gannon told WSB's Richard Sangster at today's regular Commission meeting that she expects the meeting to be business as usual, a full agenda and plenty of work to do.
"Commissioners know what the public knows". Gannon said, "The CEO claims he's done nothing wrong, I hope the DA knows what he's doing, and I hope we get to the bottom of the Watershed business. We're going to keep doing our job."
Channel 2's Richard Elliot was outside the Southland subdivision home of Ellis in Stone Mountain as detectives brought several boxes into the house. Ellis’ 83-year-old mother was at the home during the search, and officers escorted her to a neighbor’s home to be checked out by the neighbor’s wife, who is a nurse.
Three hours after they walked into the house, investigators emerged with boxes of documents and files and one home computer but declined to discuss their findings. Channel 2’s Jodie Fleischer learned investigators went to five county offices looking for records relating to Ellis.
At the county finance department, investigators wanted his American express card records, and at the elections office, they wanted his campaign finance disclosure records.
At purchasing, investigators wanted contracts for companies represented by Kevin Ross, Ellis' close friend, advisor and former campaign manager. Two and a half years ago, Ross admitted suggesting Ellis cancel several contracts belonging to competitors, but Ellis said he was not unduly influenced by Ross. The final search warrant Monday was at Ross' office.
The search came on the same day as Ellis testified before a special civil grand jury investigating county watershed operations. The investigation is probing a wide range of allegations from alleged bribes to contract improprieties.
Outside the courthouse where he testified, Ellis wouldn’t go into details regarding his testimony but said he was truthful.
“I don’t believe I can discuss that. Obviously, we’ve been here before. We’ve answered questions truthfully and honestly, straightforward. And I’ve always directed my folks to cooperate with the grand jury and make sure that they get all the answers,” Ellis told Channel 2.
He maintained his innocence at a news conference shortly before 1 p.m., adding that he doesn't know whether he's being targeted.
"I haven’t done anything that I’m aware of -- nor has my staff done anything that I’m aware of -- that’s inappropriate," Ellis said.
He said the search was a surprise and that he received a copy of the search warrant when he finished testifying before the grand jury.
“I’ve wracked my brain. I can’t imagine anything in my home that’d be of interest to the grand jury, or in my office," Ellis said.
He said he was told he will receive a list of anything taken during the search.