Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis, sentenced to 18 months in prison on July 8 after being convicted of trying to force a county vendor to make a contribution to his re-election campaign, was released Tuesday, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections.
Ellis’ attorney, Anthony Lake, declined to comment Wednesday on the release because his client is appealing the conviction.
Burke Brennan, the county's spokesman, issued this statement via email: “DeKalb’s efficient and responsive government continues to operate under the leadership of Interim CEO Lee May, as it has since July 2013, when he was appointed by Governor Nathan Deal under the provisions of O.C.G.A. 45-5-6(d)(1).”
May has served as DeKalb’s chief executive since Gov. Nathan Deal appointed him in July 2013 to replace Ellis, who was elected to a four-year term in 2012.
Ellis was a member of the DeKalb County Commission before being elected as CEO in 2008. When he ran again in 2012, he won the primary by a large margin and was unopposed in the general election. Ellis, who is still CEO, is suspended without pay.
He was found guilty of trying to shake down Power and Energy Services, an Austell business, for a $2,500 campaign contribution and threatening to end its $250,000 contract with the county. He was also convicted on three perjury counts for lying about his role in awarding county contracts.
List of DeKalb scandal
At least 40 DeKalb County elected officials, appointees, business people, teachers, police officers and others have been convicted of corruption-related charges in recent years.
- CEO Burrell Ellis: Attempted extortion and perjury
- Commissioner Elaine Boyer: Fraud
- John Boyer, her husband: Fraud
- Bob Lundsten, her aide: Obstruction
- Zoning Board of Appeals member Jerry Clark: Bribery
- Business owner Ismail Sirdah: Bribery
- Superintendent Crawford Lewis: Obstruction
- School construction chief Pat Reid: Theft
- Architect Tony Pope: Theft
- Janitorial services employee Patrick Jackson: Conspiracy
- Facilities maintenance employee Cecil Clark: Conspiracy
- Clarissa Brown, an assistant to District Attorney Robert James: Unauthorized use of financial transaction card
- 15 police and sheriff’s office employees for drug, sexual assault, theft and drug charges
- Nine DeKalb employees for stealing overtime, government funds and fixing traffic tickets
- Six school employees for altering testing records and theft
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.