DeKalb CEO could face suspension after indictment - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

DeKalb CEO could face suspension after indictment

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DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -

DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis could be suspended after being indicted on criminal charges.

The 15-count indictment, which was announced by DeKalb District Attorney Robert James on Tuesday, accuses Ellis of demanding campaign contributions from local companies with threats that their business with the county would suffer if they didn't donate cash.

Click here to read the full indictment (.PDF file)

Ellis denied any wrongdoing after posting bond on Tuesday night.

"As I've said from the very beginning, I've done nothing wrong and I would never, ever, ever do anything to violate the public trust, Ellis said.

As required by law, Gov. Nathan Deal will appoint a review panel to determine whether Ellis will remain in office as he fights the charges. The three-person panel could recommend that the governor suspend Ellis until the charges are resolved.

"We're going to make sure that whoever is on this body making this determination, will have the respect of the people of DeKalb County, and will be seen as objective and fair to all people involved," said Deal's spokesman, Brian Robinson.

It's the latest round of negative news on county government and could lead residents to take a closer look at initiatives to form cities within DeKalb.

"All things have to be considered when any events happen in your given area," said Jason Lary of the Stone Crest City Alliance. "For us, we have to have some kind of focus on economic development for the southeast area of DeKalb County, and that's what cityhood for Stonecrest is doing for us.

Kevin Levitas, a leader of the Lakeside City Alliance, said, "It would be naive to say that it's going to have no impact, that people on the fence aren't going to be looking at yet another negative headline and become more interested in is there an alternative to the way that government operations are done."

The law calls for the governor's review panel to be made up of the state attorney general and two leaders in similar positions from other counties.

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