DECATUR, Ga. — In the most shocking twists of ironies, the very investigative body that interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May paid to uncover and root out chronic criminality in the county is now demanding that May himself resign immediately because he is at the head of “appalling” levels of “corruption” throughout the east suburban Atlanta region (portions of Atlanta lies within the DeKalb County district).
May categorically denounced the 40-page corruption report he commissioned as “laughable” and he will not resign as the report demands. Former state attorney general Mike Bowers is very familiar to Atlanta and Georgia residents as he was the man who investigated the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal, dubbed the largest in American history. He was handpicked in March by May to root out county corruption and his team was paid more than three-quarters of a million dollars to conduct this probe.
“They were charged to investigate the day-to-day operations of DeKalb County government and to bring back various recommendations to let us know those areas where we need to tighten reigns, where we need to work on our fiscal controls and other opportunities to prevent those areas from waste, fraud and abuse,” May said before DeKalb County commissioners.
Another irony is that May was selected as the interim CEO after his predecessor, Burell Ellis, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for corruption. Earlier this year, Ellis was found guilty of shaking down contractors who did business with the county for campaign contributions.
Now Ellis’ successor is under fire for a number of alleged malfeasance, including taking out a loan from a subordinate. He was also under investigation by the FBI for having DeKalb taxpayers pay for a severe plumbing problem at his home. May remains defiant that he is not guilty of any known wrongdoing and also added that he has repaid the county for the raw sewage overflow that destroyed part of his home.
“Read that report and remove the salaciousness and the one thing that they knew would get your attention, that I ought to resign this seat,” May said.
“Look through that report and see if you see anything that is worthy of me resigning,” May said. “I have read through it and I don’t see anything.
“I’m not resigning,” May reiterated. “Now if the people of DeKalb — the taxpayers, the residents of DeKalb — ask me to step down, then absolutely, that’s something that I’m willing to do.”
An angry May still believes it was a good idea to commission outside investigators as a way to identify criminal activity within the county, but he also said he failed to pick the right team to do undergo the investigation.
“The content of this report is at best laughable, at worst it’s pitiful,” he stated.
DeKalb Commissioner Nancy Jester expressed her mortification at the developments, asking the residents to “Pray for DeKalb.”
This “is an embarrassment and highlights a stunning amount of misconduct at all levels of DeKalb government,” she wrote. “The DeKalb government is failing to provide even basic fiscal oversight. The abuse of trust and lack of regard for the public’s assets are disheartening and unforgiveable.”
Jester said she will look towards Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal to work with her and Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson, the two newly elected commissioners, to “establish a bipartisan effort to work for the best interest of DeKalb County taxpayers moving forward.”