DeKalb CEO May addresses corruption investigation and stadium deal

Interim DeKalb CEO Lee May responded Wednesday to criticism about a government corruption investigation and the county’s deal for Atlanta United FC to build a soccer stadium, saying the investigation needs to deliver results and the soccer complex will pay off.

May said he was upset that the special investigators broadly called the government “rotten to the core,” and he wants specific recommendations for reform in a final report this month. The investigators, whom May hired in March, had requested more time.

“We want to protect the integrity of our county operations and county government,” May said during a press conference. “I still think that (special investigation) was the right thing to do. I’m not changing from that posture, but we have to move forward.”

As for the soccer deal, May apologized that residents weren’t able to voice concerns about the deal during a public meeting before last week’s vote. But he said $12 million in county incentives were needed so that Atlanta United would locate its $35 million soccer complex near Interstate 285 and Memorial Drive.

“We put cash on the table to get a major development in that area,” May said. “This deal is done, and it’s a good deal for DeKalb County.”

Several people said they believed the deal was wasteful during a public comment period of the DeKalb Commission’s meeting on Tuesday, one week after the agreement was approved on a 4-3 vote.

Commissioner Nancy Jester said after May’s comments that the investigations should be fully funded and allowed to continue. She agreed with the investigators’ assessment that corruption is widespread in DeKalb government, and she said misbehavior should be exposed.