Ex-DeKalb Commissioner Stan Watson guilty in $3,000 theft case


Former DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Watson pleaded guilty Wednesday to a charge that he pocketed $3,000 meant for government trips to Savannah and Chicago.

Watson, who repaid the money before he was charged with a crime, was sentenced to 12 months on probation and 150 hours of community service for misdemeanor theft by conversion.

Watson, 63, withdrew advance checks in January and February of 2016 for government conferences that were scheduled to take place in April. But then he resigned from office in March 2016, before the trips took place, to run for DeKalb tax commissioner.

Even though Watson reimbursed the money, DeKalb District Attorney Sherry Boston said he needed to be held responsible. County policy requires that unused travel funds must be repaid immediately, but he didn’t finish paying back the government until nearly a year after the trips.

“We will not stand for corruption within our county government,” Boston said in a prepared statement. “Elected officials should be held to a higher standard of responsibility and accountability to the citizens whom they are elected to serve.”

There was no plea deal, but Watson asked DeKalb Superior Court Judge Asha Jackson to reduce the charge against him to a misdemeanor, which she agreed to do after listening to testimony about Watson’s character and public service. Prosecutors had sought five years’ probation.

Watson’s attorney, Robert James, said he owned up to the charge.

“Mr. Watson always understood there had to be some accountability and some punishment,” said James, the county’s former district attorney. “He wanted to make this right, and that’s what he’s done today.”

During Watson’s probation, he’s barred from doing business with DeKalb County.

County records show Watson reimbursed the county $3,586 for his planned costs to attend the National Organization of Black County Officials economic development conference in Chicago and the Association County Commissioners of Georgia annual conference in Savannah. The advances were for conference registration, airfare, lodging and meals.

After Watson left office, he never went on the trips. He began reimbursing the money last November and paid it in full by March.

Watson, a former member of the Georgia House of Representatives and chairman of DeKalb’s delegation, was elected to the DeKalb Commission in 2010. After stepping down last year, he finished in third place in the race for county tax commissioner.

Watson also faced non-criminal complaints while he was in office.

The DeKalb Board of Ethics reprimanded him in August 2015 for awarding $1.5 million in contracts to his employer. In addition, he lost a $150,500 lawsuit in April 2015 involving a barroom argument in which he falsely accused two women of stealing his wallet.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

SUNDAY’S WEATHER-TRAFFIC: Infrequent downpours lead up to holiday storm
SUNDAY’S WEATHER-TRAFFIC: Infrequent downpours lead up to holiday storm

Sunday: High: 82 Sunday night: Low: 69  Monday: High: 80 Sunday is the last day before Subtropical Storm Alberto should make landfall and rain all over Memorial Day festivities. It might be a good idea to spend time outdoors while you still can between infrequent downpours Sunday, Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Katie Walls said. Sunday...
Atlanta FBI official’s death linked to work at 9/11 scene
Atlanta FBI official’s death linked to work at 9/11 scene

The special agent in charge of the FBI’s Atlanta office died earlier today due to complications from his work responding at the World Trade Center on 9/11, the FBI said. David J. LeValley served in Atlanta since November 2016, and he had been a special agent with the FBI since 1996, according to an FBI press release. Following the 9/11 attacks...
Police seek person of interest after deadly Sandy Springs house fire
Police seek person of interest after deadly Sandy Springs house fire

Sandy Springs police are looking for a person of interest in connection with a house fire that killed one person. The person of interest is Patrick J. Nolan, 43, police said in a news release. The fire was on the 500 block of Hammond Drive, a Sandy Springs Fire Department spokesperson said.  The road has been closed between Kayron Drive and Brookgreen...
Metro youths continue patriotic tradition on Memorial Day weekend
Metro youths continue patriotic tradition on Memorial Day weekend

The significance of the 18,742 marble headstones in Marietta National Cemetery was not lost on Evan Sheridan, as the 10-year-old Boy Scout on Saturday tried his best to make sure the American flags he planted stood up straight and were 6 inches from the center of each stone. “I’m here to honor the soldiers who served our country and...
WATCH: Video allegedly shows jailer use Taser on inmate strapped to chair
WATCH: Video allegedly shows jailer use Taser on inmate strapped to chair

Surveillance video obtained by Channel 2 Action News allegedly shows a Polk County jailer Tasing an inmate who was strapped to a chair. The inmate, Brandon Coffman, allegedly received burn scars from the incident, which took place in July 2016, Channel 2 reported.  Once the Polk County sheriff saw the video later that year, he fired supervisor...
More Stories