Suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis, accused of extortion and theft, argues in court motions that he is in the cross hairs of a political vendetta, not actual wrongdoing.
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WHO'S WHO IN DEKALB LEADERSHIP
- BURRELL ELLIS: DeKalb County’s chief elected officer, Ellis was suspended this summer from the post similar to a strong mayor in large jurisdictions, running nearly all of the daily business of Georgia’s third-largest county. A former county commissioner and real estate attorney, Ellis was first elected CEO in 2008 and is now in his second term. He became a public target of a political corruption case in January, when investigators from the district attorney’s office searched his home and office and seized campaign records and county contracts. The results of that investigation remain under seal. The DA unveiled a 15-count indictment on separate accusations in June.
- ROBERT JAMES: DeKalb County’s district attorney since 2011, James cites a stint as an elementary school paraprofessional in a poor area of Atlanta as pushing him into prosecution. He is a former prosecutor in DeKalb and Rockdale counties who spent four years as DeKalb’s solicitor. In his short tenure, James took the lead in prosecuting Hemy Neuman for killing Rusty Sneiderman and also convicted the widow, Andrea, in connection with the case. He is expected to lead the prosecution of Ellis on 14 felonies and one misdemeanor.
- LEE MAY: The son of a pastor, May became, in 2006, the youngest person elected to the DeKalb County Commission. He was 30. May holds a master of divinity degree but is better known for a series of bankruptcies that stemmed in part from his failed effort to run a movie theater near Lithonia. May has said his struggles help him understand taxpayers’ financial woes as the head of the commission’s budget committee. Gov. Nathan Deal appointed May as interim CEO as the case drags on against Ellis, giving May the power to run daily operations, shape the budget and help set the policy agenda in DeKalb.