Ex-commissioner: Was told bribery common in Gwinnett


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution first reported on suspicious Gwinnett County land deals and other projects —- including a waste transfer station proposed by developer Mark Gary —- in 2009. The newspaper found politically connected developers won County Commission approval for their projects, sometimes at the expense of taxpayers.

The following year, a special grand jury concluded that Gwinnett spent millions of dollars too much for park land in deals that benefited commissioners’ political allies. The newspaper has continued to follow developments, including bribery charges against former Commissioners Kevin Kenerly and Shirley Lasseter and an ongoing federal corruption investigation.

In an exclusive interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,  Shirley Lasseter — waiting to report to federal prison after pleading guilty to a bribery charge — said several developers told her that’s the way it is in Gwinnett County. They told her they had paid other county commissioners, planning commissioners and zoning board members over the years. Sometimes, those public officials gave them the votes the wanted, she said. Other times, she said, they voted against the developers’ projects but pocketed the money anyway.

Lasseter said the developers named names. But in the interview Friday, she declined to name the developers or the public officials who allegedly accepted bribes. She said she had no personal knowledge of any current Gwinnett officials accepting bribes.

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