DeKalb County’s government is “rotten to the core,” investigators hired by Interim DeKalb CEO Lee May reported in a letter previewing their upcoming full report.
Investigators Mike Bowers, the former state attorney general, and Richard Hyde wrote that they found widespread waste and fraud, according to the AJC. An apparent “bribery scheme involving a major county department” is among the biggest allegations. They also report finding taxpayer money spent on everything from an employee’s Bahamas cruise to liquor and peanut-butter-filled pretzels.
“The DeKalb County government we have found is rotten to the core,” Bowers and Hyde wrote. “The misconduct starts at the top and has infected nearly every department we have looked at.”
They also allege obstruction of their investigation by government officials.
The investigators did not name names yet and said they “still have a good way to go” before releasing a final report. Lee hired the investigators earlier this year in the wake of several county government corruption scandals.
The letter from Bowers and Hyde came just a day after the DeKalb County Commission voted to spend $12 million to locate the Atlanta United FC’s soccer training complex on 41 acres along I-285 near Memorial Drive. Residents were outraged that public comment was not allowed before the vote was taken. Peach Pundit reports that Bowers was thrown out of that same commission meeting when he showed up to speak during public comment about the commission stripping funding for the investigation.
Allen Venet, the chairman of LaVista Hills Yes citizens’ group behind the push to create a new city in North DeKalb, said in a statement to the media that “not only are these events proof that a radical change to the structure of the DeKalb County government is necessary and appropriate, but they support the value of cityhood – of people being able to come together and have more control over what goes on in their communities, of cities being able to make decisions based on a more true and accurate community consensus.”