Reaction was subdued in Brookhaven and Chamblee to Monday's news that the home and office of CEO Burrell Ellis was searched by law enforcement officials.
"Given the focus on efficient governance, including the justification for the incorporation of the City of Brookhaven, it is disconcerting that there was enough probably cause for the search warrant to be issued," said Chamblee City Councilman Tom Hogan. "That being said, I remain optimistic and hopeful that there was no foul play and the CEO will be cleared."
Brookhaven Mayor J. Max Davis told Patch called the incident "troubling" and "disappointing."
"But everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and I'm not going to make any sort of judgments," he said.
Brookhaven District 2 councilman Jim Eyre said he didn't have enough information on the circumstance to comment. District 4 councilman Joe Gebbia also declined comment, other than to say his initial reaction to the news was "one of great surprise."
The AJC reported that Ellis' home and office were searched on the same day that the DeKalb CEO testified before a special grand jury investigating county watershed operations.
Ellis appeared before local media shortly before 1 p.m. and said he's unaware of any wrongdoing by him or those within his office related to the department's bidding. He also said he hasn't had any inappropriate contact with county vendors that do business with the department.
"We're just going to continue to cooperate [with the investigation]," Ellis said. "I don't know that I'm a target. … It's a pretty broad warrant they've issued."
Ellis said he was concerned for his visiting 83-year-old mother, who was the only person at his home when the search started. He and his department have cooperated with District Attorney Robert James' investigation since its beginning, he said.
"I'm not sure why they chose to do it that way, but they did," Ellis said of the morning search.
According to the warrants, which were released by the DeKalb County Superior Court Clerk's office, the warrants sought:
Books, computers and hard drives with information about vendors and contracts with DeKalb County, county probation services, lobbying groups, county Watrshed Management, the Watershed Management Capital Improvement Program, ambulance services and all documents about Sentinel Probtion Services, Montgomery Watson, Rural Metro Ambulance, Massey-Bowers and the Ferguson Group and all campaign financial information.
The warrants also sought the computers and electronic devices for assistants Nina Hall and Karen Williams, chief of Staff Hakim Hilliard and Joel Alvarado.
The search warrants were for:
- Ellis's house at 5614 Mountain View Point in Stone Mountain.
- Ellis's DeKalb County office on he sixth floor of the building at 330 W. Ponce de Leon Ave., Decatur.
- 3290 Northside Parkway, Suite 775, in Atlanta.
- The DeKalb County IT Department in the Calloway Building at 120 W. Trinity Place, Decatur.
- The DeKalb County Finance Office in the Manuel Maloof Building at 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur.
- The DeKalb County Elections Office at 4380 Memorial Drive, outside Decatur.
- The DeKalb County Purchasing and Contracting Office in the Manuel Maloof Building at 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur.
District 2 Commissioner Jeff Rader, in a brief phone interview, said it was too soon to comment.
"I really can't react to it," he said. "I really don't know any more than you do."
Stay with Patch as more details become available.