Next Story

Prison doctor resigns after lawsuit with amputee is settled

Gov. Deal makes suspension of indicted Snellville mayor official


Gov. Nathan Deal made official Wednesday the suspension of indicted Snellville Mayor Tom Witts. 

Witts — who has been charged with 65 felony counts, with allegations ranging from tax evasion to misuse of campaign funds — voluntarily suspended himself from office on Sept. 25, a little over two weeks after a Gwinnett County grand jury handed up his indictment.

MORE: Snellville mayor’s indictment puts city’s shenanigans back in the spotlight

MORE: The internet does not like Gwinnett’s proposed new logo. Do officials? 

Deal nonetheless appointed Tuesday a three-person committee to review the mayor’s indictment and determine if it “adversely affects” his ability to hold office. The committee, made up of Attorney General Chris Carr and the mayors of Peachtree City and Marietta, decided Wednesday that it does.

The governor subsequently issued an executive order suspending Witts until his criminal case is resolved or until his term expires. Witts, a former city councilman, was elected to his first four-year term as mayor in 2015.

Mayor Pro Tem Barbara Bender has fulfilled Witts’ duties in his absence.

The indictment against Witts was the product of a years-long investigation by Gwinnett District Attorney Danny Porter and state and federal authorities. The mayor is accused of tax evasion, lying on candidacy affidavits about owing taxes, misusing campaign funds and allowing his company, Georgia Property Restoration, to improperly do business with Snellville while he was in office.

Sixty-five of the indictment’s 66 total charges are felonies. The only misdemeanor involves Witts allegedly using 2015 campaign money to pay for a subscription to a pornography website.

Witts, who turned himself in to the Gwinnett County jail on Sept. 14 and was released on a $20,000 signature bond, has maintained his innocence. In a statement read at a city council meeting in his absence, he said his then-voluntary suspension was necessary in order to focus on his defense.

MYAJC.COM: REAL JOURNALISM. REAL LOCAL IMPACT.

The AJC's Tyler Estep keeps you updated on the latest happenings in Gwinnett County government and politics. You'll find more on myAJC.com, including these stories:

Never miss a minute of what's happening in Gwinnett politics. Subscribe to myAJC.com.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Q&A on the News

Q: Who was the first college football coach to make $1 million? At what point were football coaches valued at $1 million-plus salaries? —Bob Markert, Roswell A: Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden is credited as the first college football coach to earn $1 million a year with a deal in November 1995, according to published reports. Steve Spurrier...
Pet groomer faces more animal cruelty charges
Pet groomer faces more animal cruelty charges

A Forsyth County pet grooming business owner is now facing an additional charge of animal cruelty as well as an investigation into other possible incidents, police said. Michelle Louise Root, owner of Paw’sh Paws in Cumming, turned herself in Wednesday night at the Forsyth County jail, Cumming Deputy police Chief Aletha Barrett told The Atlanta...
Atlanta races for another ‘Olympic moment’ with Amazon bid
Atlanta races for another ‘Olympic moment’ with Amazon bid

The pitches are in, but the work to land Amazon’s second headquarters is far from over. On Thursday, a Georgia official hand-delivered hardbound copies of what insiders call a “formidable” package for “HQ2,” a 50,000-job, $5 billion bonanza with the potential to alter the economic landscape of the winning bidder. The state...
Fugitive turns himself in, with doughnuts, after issuing challenge to police
Fugitive turns himself in, with doughnuts, after issuing challenge to police

A man made good on his promise to turn himself in to police in Michigan this week with a box of doughnuts in-hand after he challenged officers to get a Facebook post shared 1,000 times after taunting the department on social media. “You guys suck!” wrote 21-year-old Michael Zaydel, who goes by the name “Champagne Torino” on...
Calvin ‘Cal’ Carter, former Atlanta aviation commissioner, dies at 92
Calvin ‘Cal’ Carter, former Atlanta aviation commissioner, dies at 92

Calvin “Cal” Carter, Atlanta’s aviation commissioner from 1983 until 1990, has died at the age of 92. Carter worked for the city of Atlanta for 19 years under three mayors before retiring from the aviation commissioner position at the age of 65. He was the first African-American commissioner of the Atlanta airport, and last year during...
More Stories