ellis trial

Ellis jurors back for 11th day at 11th hour

Jurors in the trial of DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis are deliberating for an 11th day, perhaps their last chance at agreeing on a verdict before a mistrial is declared. The jury hasn’t been able to unanimously agree on any of the 13 criminal charges against Ellis.

If Judge Courtney Johnson has to declare a mistrial, the six-week trial of Ellis would end without a resolution. The charges would still be pending, Ellis would still be suspended from office and prosecutors would have to decide whether to seek a retrial.

Ellis has pleaded not guilty to charges that the threatened county contractors who resisted contributing to his 2012 re-election campaign. The charges against him include bribery, theft, extortion and perjury.  The jury has already told Johnson three times that it can’t settle its differences, and she has ordered them to keep working each of those times.





Secret tape in pay scandal

A secret recording in which Atlanta Police Chief George Turner refutes that he received nearly $80,000 because of a hardship is raising new questions about how and why Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration awarded payouts to select employees under a little-known “hardship program.”

The revelation, made in a recording obtained by Channel 2 Actions News, highlights inconsistencies between Turner and Reed’s version of events that led to the chief receiving $80,000 on top of his $241,000 annual salary last year. In the recording, Turner flatly tells officers during a recent staff meeting that he didn’t have a hardship when he was paid five-figures last year for unused vacation time.



Construction begins on Midtown project

Construction is underway on a $100 million residential and retail community in Midtown Atlanta.  Wood Partners said Monday it has started 33 Peachtree Place, a 369-unit apartment development along West Peachtree Street near the headquarters of AGL Resources and the Midtown MARTA station.

»  Lighting company announces expansion

Atlanta-based lighting company Acuity Brands will create 700 jobs over the next five years in metro Atlanta — many of them high-paying technology jobs — in a major expansion of its local workforce.


3 candidates

Both sides brace for a runoff

If you needed any proof that Republicans are worried about a looming runoff, look no further than Sunday’s gubernatorial debate.  That’s when Gov. Nathan Deal, instead of lobbing a softball at his Libertarian rival, unloaded a double-barreled attack questioning his support for a Medicaid expansion and criticizing the millions of dollars in federal grants his technology firms accepted.

Georgia Democrats and Republicans are warily eyeing the third-party candidates in the two races atop the ballot, mindful that voters could be headed to two more grueling contests if no candidate tops 50 percent on Nov. 4. They are worried for very different reasons.



Ticket traps: Slow down or pay up

The AJC examined five years of traffic fines paid in every police jurisdiction in Georgia, more than 500 cities and counties, and has set up a searchable database online on which any driver in Georgia can look up total fine receipts in any city or county. It then established how much each jurisdiction was collecting according to the number of people who live there. By that calculation, the worst “ticket traps” are in rural Georgia — including a string of cities and counties along I-75 in South Georgia that tap Disney-bound tourists and other pass-through traffic to fill their treasuries.

» Search: Ga.'s biggest ticket traps

» 50 worst ticket traps in state


world series

Is Series a sign small ball is back?

The World Series matches teams that are foreign to what baseball in general and the Braves in specific had become — homer-dependent and whiff-crazy. Kansas City hit the fewest home runs (95) among 30 big-league teams. The Royals also drew the fewest walks.

To a sabermetrician, homers and walks constitute two of what’s known as the Three True Outcomes of a plate appearance. The Royals weren’t just bad at two of the TTO’s — they were the absolute worst. So how in the name of Kenesaw Mountain Landis are they four wins from a championship?



Will others follow Clayton County?

You could have loaded the optimism onto your Breeze Card when elected officials and transportation advocates spoke at a recent gathering about Clayton County’s upcoming MARTA referendum.  Four panelists — including Clayton County Chairman Jeffrey Turner and MARTA board Chairman Robbie Ashe (above) — agreed that Clayton voters will approve a one-cent sales tax increase on Nov. 4 to join the mass-transit system, thus marking the first expansion of MARTA outside Fulton and DeKalb counties in 40 years.

With that approval will come opportunity.


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