DeKalb CEO’s vendor lists surface |


DeKalb CEO’s vendor lists surface |

DeKalb County commissioners often award millions of dollars in county contracts at their meetings twice a month. The names of the companies that win the contracts are buried amid the governmentspeak and legalese that fill the commission’s agenda.

As far back as May 2011 and continuing until April this year, three county staff members were specially assigned to sift through those agendas and find contract winners big and small. They created spreadsheets listing the company names, plus each vendor’s contact person and phone number. The lists also cite the specific project or contract and the amount awarded to the company.

The spreadsheets were prepared at the direction of CEO Burrell Ellis, according to two county officials who were not authorized to speak on the record.

Those accounts mirror accusations in a 15-count indictment of Ellis in June, which states that he ordered county employees to compile special lists of vendors so he could solicit campaign contributions from them. In fact, there were nearly 40 such lists — and possibly m0re — containing hundreds of names of vendors, documents obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution show.

Initially the county said the vendor lists described in the indictments did not exist. This week, however, the county released dozens of electronic spreadsheets in response to a request from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution under the Georgia Open Records Act.

A DeKalb County grand jury indicted Ellis on 15 criminal counts, 14 of them felonies. The charges include theft, conspiracy and extortion, mostly stemming from campaign donations Ellis allegedly sought from companies whose names were on those lists.

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