DeKalb CEO Lee May seeks conclusion of investigation

Interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May is calling for an end to an investigation of government corruption that he started, saying he’s concerned about the “tone and content” of the inquiry that broadly characterized the county as “rotten.”

May wrote in a letter Thursday to the investigators, former state Attorney General Mike Bowers and Richard Hyde, that their final report must be completed by Aug. 26, and they won't be provided any further funding afterward.

Bowers had sent a letter to May earlier Thursday that said it was clear to him based on a previous conversation that his final report wouldn’t be due until Oct. 6.

But May wrote in response that they had agreed on a final report being written within three weeks, and they had discussed presenting it to the DeKalb Commission in October.

May’s letter said the investigators have told him they’re frustrated that they haven’t yet been paid for all of the work they’ve billed — $455,746 through May, according to government records obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. May wrote that they will be paid quickly.

"While I understand your frustration at not being fully paid as of this date, the salacious headline-grabbing characterizations in your August 5th Investigative Update and its imprecise references will need more context in your final report for my administration to take proper action to restore the faith and trust in DeKalb County government," May wrote.

The investigators have reported examples of widespread misconduct, with allegations that employees took bribes, drove county vehicle while drunk and spent public money on themselves. They declined to identify any government officials or workers until their final report is completed.

Their findings were revealed in a hand-delivered letter to May on Wednesday, a day after Bowers said they were denied an oportunity to present an update at the regularly scheduled county commission meeting.

May, who hired the special investigators in March, Thursday requested "detailed, factual and accurate" results in their final report.

“Your August 5th Investigative Update was very broad and included generalized personal attacks on the entire county workforce,” he wrote.

The investigators also reported that taxpayer-funded charge cards were used for food and liquor, that departments haven’t complied with the Georgia Open Records Act, and that the county paid to recover a vehicle impounded after a government employee was arrested for DUI.

May noted in his letter that he already eliminated the use of charge cards for most employees in June based on the investigators' recommendation.

He wrote that the investigators should report criminal criminal wrongdoing to federal or state prosecutors.

“I know that you do not want your actions or Final Report to jeopardize or prohibit a future criminal investigation or prosecution. … Thank you for your work and I look forward to receiving your Final Report including the required recommendations for improving county government,” May wrote.

May said he will stand by his decision to allow the investigators to release their final report without his prior review or input.