Brookhaven Yes, which backs creation of a new city of Brookhaven, says it has filed an ethics complaint against DeKalb County alleging county officials are using taxpayer funds to oppose efforts to form a city.

J.Max Davis, president of Brookhaven Yes, made the formal complaint to Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission on July 27.

He lists several DeKalb officials, including CEO Burrell Ellis, Chief Financial Officer Joel Gottlieb and Davis Fox, assistant to Commissioner Kathy Gannon.

Davis said the elected officials and county employees violated the Campaign Finance Act by using county emails to distribute resources to the No City Brookhaven campaign.

Burke Brennan, spokesman for the county, said county officials had done nothing wrong.

“DeKalb County has been in receipt of several hundred emails concerning the Brookhaven issue, including some that have requested specific information,” Brennan said. “ DeKalb County has not engaged itself in a political process, however, it has responded to requests for information and service delivery, as usual.”

He said county also have attempted to offer facts to citizens about the real cost of providing services and capital improvements to various parts of the county.

According to Georgia’s Campaign Finance Act, it is illegal for a government to contribute to a political campaign.

Davis included copies of several emails, including an email from Fox inviting other county officials to a No City Brookhaven fundraiser as well as a list of talking points against the formation of the city.

He also listed an email from the treasurer of the No City Brookhaven campaign asking Ellis for a statement to use with No City Brookhaven materials.

Chuck Konas, a chairman of No City Brookhaven, said the organization is not backed by the county.

“Brookhaven Yes’ claim that No City Brookhaven is directed by the county is still not true.  It’s just their continued effort to misrepresent the facts to distract the voters from the real issues of the campaign,” Konas said.

“We are your neighbors who found each other because we saw early on what a mistake the city is. Unlike Brookhaven Yes, we are not politicians and we are not running for office.  The politicians just can’t get over that a group of citizens are standing up to them.”

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.