A defiant Burrell Ellis took to the stage twice Monday, once in front of more than 300 county employees, to make it clear he believes DeKalb County is on track – and he plans to be the one to keep it that way.
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The case against Ellis
A DeKalb County grand jury indicted CEO Burrell Ellis on 15 criminal counts last week, 14 of them felonies. The charges include theft, conspiracy and extortion. Ellis has yet to enter a plea, but he said publicly he is not guilty. Below is what the indictment alleges.
- Prosecutors allege in two counts that Ellis threatened to withhold county business from the IT vendor CIBER Inc. after an employee said she and the firm would not contribute to Ellis’ election campaign. One charge claims Ellis told the worker he would report that she provided poor customer service if she did not give.
- Five counts accuse Ellis of making sure Power and Energy Services, an Austell equipment sales and service company, did not receive work with DeKalb after the owners and an employee either did not respond to campaign solicitations or declined to give. Two charges claim Ellis instructed the county’s purchasing director to write a false note in the company’s file, describing them as non-responsive to explain why they no longer received contracts.
- Five counts allege that Ellis ordered the purchasing director and department staffers to compile a list of county vendors for his use in campaign calls. Theft and fraud charges refer to stealing the workers’ time — on taxpayers’ dime — to do the work, as well as deliver the list to an off-site office. Two coercion charges claim Ellis forced those who worked for him to help with his political efforts.
- Three counts accuse Ellis of directing the purchasing director to stop honoring a contract with real estate firm National Property Institute of Ellenwood after the company did not give to his campaign. The counts also allege that Ellis ordered the county’s community development director to arrange a meeting with the firm over the lack of donations.