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Federal Probe Ties Mystery DeKalb Politician to Bribery Scheme

Commissioners and CEO all say the unnamed official is someone else.

Lee May. (Patch file photo.)
Lee May. (Patch file photo.)

Another public corruption investigation involves an unnamed DeKalb County politician in a federal bribery case that stretches across three Southern states.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that a 51-count indictment against South Carolina businessmen Jonathon Pinson and Eric Robinson includes two counts of fraud for a kickback scheme involving “an elected official” in DeKalb. No one in DeKalb has been charged in the case.

The businessmen are accused of racketeering, bribery and theft. 

Tuesday, the AJC reported, the six sitting county commissioners and interim CEO Lee May, who was a commissioner during the 2011 incidents, denied being that official, called a “councilman” in the indictment.

“I can’t believe there is another cloud rising with DeKalb County’s name to it,” May said told the paper. “It’s another black eye at a time when my biggest heartburn is how to build confidence back in our government.”

Allegations against the South Carolina men include kickbacks — which they called “love offerings” — and bribes that the FBI caught on wiretaps in the case, according to the paper.

Among the alleged crimes caught is a plan “to pay a purported kickback” to that unnamed DeKalb official. There are at least two days’ of covert recordings that relate to DeKalb.

The scheme called for Florida developer Rick Zahn to pay the bribes to the DeKalb official in exchange for expected favorable treatment, the paper reported, citing the indictment.

“I have no idea what it’s about, but it absolutely does not involve me,” said Commissioner Stan Watson.

Watson and May both acknowledge knowing Robinson from his management of Arizona’s Steakhouse at Stonecrest Mall, which is in their districts.

The DeKalb County district attorney’s office is aware of the county’s role in the case and is conducting its own investigation, a spokeswoman for the office told the AJR.

The job will likely fall to the DA’s public integrity unit, which brought a political corruption case against suspended CEO Burrell Ellis last year.

Ellis’ trial for allegedly strong-arming county vendors for campaign cash and punishing those who didn’t give is scheduled for June.

Tom Reilly April 10, 2014 at 09:22 AM
...Sounds very familiar...and how's Elaine Boyer this morning??--Tom Reilly
Clem Kadiddlehopper April 10, 2014 at 11:51 AM
Your are kidding right? A corrupt politician....? OH say it ani't so and a Demorat. Maxie Price Jr, good to know what GM dealership to avoid.
Keith April 10, 2014 at 06:27 PM
Possibly 3 different council members giving black eyes to the county? How many more do we need before we vote all the incumbents out? Democrat or Republican, our current representatives have proven that they're greedy, self motivated, and on the take.
Betty April 11, 2014 at 11:13 AM
If you don't vote for Gregory Adams to replace Stan Watson then we get what we don't want another 4 years of a corrupt professional politician. Making our county the laughing stock of GA and the USA. adamsfordekalb.com
Betty April 22, 2014 at 04:44 PM
Well things are going full circle Lee May, Ms. Boyer, Stan Watson and Sharon Sutton. The indictment shows "the Mayor" of DeKalb county of who got the kickbacks and the P card has been abused. Wait for after the May elections and Lee May elects Jerome to sit on the board of commissioners. Hopefully with fingers crossed with a new Govenor he can fire the remaining commissioners and clean house.

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