DeKalb commissioners meet after CEO's home, office searched - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

DeKalb commissioners meet after CEO's home, office searched

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DECATUR, Ga. -

A day after investigators searched the home and office of DeKalb County's CEO, county commissioners responded to Burrell Ellis' legal troubles after they met for the first time this year.

Since it was not on the agenda, there was no mention of what happened at Ellis' home or office during the meeting held on Tuesday morning.

Executing seven search warrants, authorities confiscated computers and boxes of evidence as the CEO was appearing before a special grand jury involving the watershed management department and its contracts on Monday.

After the meeting concluded, several DeKalb commissioners expressed surprise at the turn of events to FOX 5.

"Of course you're surprised and shocked, and no one wants to hear or see anything about it. I am going to hope for the best that the CEO is not responsible for these things. No one wants to see that. Even if you don't agree, political agendas, no one wants to see that someone could have possibly turned a blind eye to transparency," said DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer.

Ellis, who was just elected to a second term as CEO, doesn't preside over commission meetings and was not present for Tuesday's meeting.

He said that he had no idea investigators were at his home while he was testifying in front of the special grand jury about the investigation.

"I don't know that I'm a target. I do know that they want to look at some documentation," Ellis said on Monday. "It's a pretty broad warrant that they've issued. But again, I would have provided it."

DeKalb County Commissioner Lee May said it's time for all DeKalb residents to come together.

"I think that this is a moment that we have to collectively come together whether you are black, white, Republican, or democrats, you live on north or south side of town. We come together to resolve the issues. That's my message to DeKalb County residents today," said Lee.

J. Tom Morgan, the district attorney in DeKalb County for more than a decade, described what happened to the CEO Monday as an unprecedented legal maneuver.

"Typically what happens is if search warrants are being executed, criminal indictments are also being served at the same time, so here it's really a fishing expedition," said Morgan.

Morgan pointed out that a search warrant does not necessarily mean there will be indictments.

With the school district recently placed on probation, DeKalb County commissioners say they can understand why residents are frustrated by the turmoil. They say they would not let the latest problem distract them from the work they need to do.

The commissioners say they are hoping to get a briefing from Ellis' chief of staff about the situation. Since they have not seen any of the search warrants, the commissioners did not want to make any further comment.

DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James says he cannot comment on the special grand jury investigation and would not comment on Morgan's statements.

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