Illegal firing in South Fulton, lawsuit claims

South Fulton’s former finance director, alleging corruption in city government, has filed a lawsuit claiming she was fired in retaliation for blowing the whistle.

Karen Slaton-Dixon says she was South Fulton’s finance director from Dec. 1, 2021, until June 12, 2023, and had an unblemished work record.

Then, starting in March 2023, she cooperated with the district attorney’s office “investigating financial improprieties in the City of South Fulton,” the lawsuit says. The city knew she was doing so, and she shared her concerns with City Attorney Vincent Hyman, Slaton-Dixon says in the suit.

Subsequently she was forced to fire an employee who was also reporting procurement fraud, only doing so after she “vehemently objected,” the suit says. Slaton-Dixon said she also reported to city officials that some departments were not properly paying or documenting invoices.

She contacted the FBI about $525,000 missing from the police confiscated asset fund, then told city officials about that too. On May 5, 2023, Slaton-Dixon reported procurement fraud to Interim City Manager Sharon Subadan, and Subadan fired her a week later, according to the lawsuit.

Subadan referred a request for comment to city Public Affairs Director Shaheen Solomon, who said the allegations of fraud and missing funds are “categorically false.”

“The city had valid and legitimate reasoning for (Slaton-Dixon’s) termination and separation of employment,” Solomon said.

The DA’s office declined to comment on any investigation into corruption in South Fulton. The Atlanta office of the FBI declined to confirm or deny an investigation.

Slaton-Dixon alleges the city violated the Georgia Whistleblower Act. She sued South Fulton on June 5 in Fulton County Superior Court, seeking back pay and benefits, compensatory damages and legal fees.

Her lawsuit is the latest in a long string of legal disputes within South Fulton city government. Since 2022 those have included frequent accusations of illegal behavior between the mayor and city council, and resignation of top staff members.