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Brookhaven, Chamblee Reacts To Search Of Ellis Home, Office

DeKalb CEO says he doesn't know if he's a target of an investigation.


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.

BurrellLawyersUp January 17, 2013 at 03:11 PM
Burrell 'lawyers-up' with heavy weights, do we pay? I have always felt that one's choice of criminal attorneys speaks volumes about their alleged misdeeds. For instance, if you chose Eddie Garland, you might be a thug... Today, DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis announced that former DA J. Tom Morgan and Mr. Craig Gillen will represent him in the alleged RICO, bid-rigging, etc. investigation. Mr. Gillen has a resume that oozes competence in such crimes, having gone from a principled prosecutor over to the dark side; now a monied criminal defender. http://www.twitherslaw.com/index.cfm?pageid=2&itemid=3
BurrellLawyersUp January 17, 2013 at 03:46 PM
Does DeKalb CEO Ellis define 'play-to-pay'? The 'pay-to-play' topic ignited tons of chitter-chatter during the Brookhaven run-off, resulting in nastiness, bad feelings, and lies being heaped upon a decent man, our new Mayor. Yet, those same strident voices remain uncharacteristically quiet as today AJC reveals allegations against CEO Burrell Ellis. This is what 'pay-to'play' really means. Hit dog ...
BurrellLawyersUp January 17, 2013 at 03:48 PM
Courtesy: AJC http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/businesses-named-in-dekalb-probe-earned-millions/nTyhN/ "... But The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has found: Four of the companies have been paid more than $4 million by DeKalb County since Ellis took office in January 2009, compared to less than $25,000 before Ellis’ election, according to financial data obtained by the AJC. A fifth vendor named in the search warrant affidavits, an ambulance company, is paid directly by patients, not by the county, for services it provides in DeKalb. But that contract has been previously estimated to generate at least $8.5 million a year. Four of the companies have hired Ross, Ellis’ friend and adviser, as a consultant. Five of the companies, their employees or their relatives contributed nearly $20,000 combined to Ellis’ campaigns, according to an AJC analysis ..." OH YEAH! Time for a clean sweep!
BurrellLawyersUp January 17, 2013 at 03:54 PM
LOOKEE over here, gun people! This is what is going on today, now, and you can meaningfully affect change: http://www.peachpundit.com/2013/01/17/dekalb-schools-time-to-pull-the-band-aid/
BurrellLawyersUp January 17, 2013 at 09:36 PM
BURRELL'S LEGAL TEAM: Who pays? FOUR of the BEST LAWYERS. "On Thursday, however, legal experts said Ellis has now assembled a formidable team. With Gillen, Ellis has one of the most respected and feared – particularly when he’s in a courtroom – lawyers in Georgia. “He’s the best of the best,” said Don Samuel, a prominent Atlanta defense attorney. “He’s an incredibly talented courtroom lawyer and a great student of the law.” Years ago, the pugnacious attorney won notable convictions as a federal prosecutor. {NOTE: He convicted Mike Thevis} Since becoming a defense attorney, Gillen has won acquittals for a string of high-profile clients. This includes the 2001 acquittal of reputed Mob captain Michael “Mike Scars” DiLeonardo in the sensational Gold Club racketeering trial and, a year later, the dismissal of corruption charges against former state Sen. Van Streat. More recently, Gillen has represented Bishop Eddie Long, former Cobb EMC head Dwight Brown and former Gwinnett County Commission Chair Charles Bannister. - Craig Gillen, - Anthony Lake, Mr. Gillen's law partner, - J. Tom Morgan, former DeKalb DA, - John Petrey, Morgan’s former chief assistant.

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