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AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Fulton tax chief Ferdinand may finally get a cut in pay


After years of failed attempts, the Georgia legislature has finally approved a bill stopping one of the ways Fulton County Tax Commissioner Arthur Ferdinand personally profits from his position.

If approved by the governor, House Bill 375 would bar the collection of fees for issuing tax executions. Since at least 2010, Ferdinand has been personally collecting 50 cents every time his office sells a tax debt to a private collection firm, or when a property owner pays off a lien. The payments have added tens of thousands of dollars a year to his pay.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution exposed this extra income source, which even some county commissioners weren't aware of, in 2013. You can read that investigative story here.

The AJC could find no other tax commissioner in Georgia collecting the fee. With it, Ferdinand was being paid $383,000 by 2012.

The Legislature tried in 2014 to rein Ferdinand in, but that bill died in the Senate.

Ferdinand, who is 76, was re-elected last year to another four-year term. He will be 77 when the new law will take effect, if the governor approves it.

Read the AJC's latest coverage of HB 375's passage in the House and Senate here.

 


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About the Author

Johnny Edwards is a member of the AJC’s investigative team, focusing on the private sector and state and federal regulation. He has worked at the newspaper since 2010.