DeKalb commissioner received nearly $4K in advances before leaving office

Former DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Watson received $3,886 for government trips that took place after he resigned from office.

Channel 2 Action News reports that Watson sought the money from the county government in advance of conferences in Chicago and Savannah.

There's no indication that Watson, who stepped down last March to run for county tax commissioner, reimbursed the money, a county spokesman told Channel 2. Watson lost the three-way race for tax commissioner.

The money was intended to pay for Delta flights, hotel stays, conference registration fees and meals, according to documents obtained by Channel 2 under Georgia’s Open Records Act.

He took a $1,527 advance on Jan. 27, 2016, for the National Organization of Black County Officials Economic Development Conference in Chicago from April 20 to April 24.

He also received a $2,359 advance on Feb. 4, 2016, for the Association County Commissioners of Georgia conference in Savannah from April 29 to May 2.

Watson couldn’t be reached for comment by Channel 2.

Unrelated ethics allegations remain pending against Watson.

The DeKalb Board of Ethics decided in October there was probable cause to move forward with a case accusing Watson of spending more than $90,000 that he solicited from county contractors and held in a private DeKalb Chamber of Commerce account.

The case stalled after Watson’s attorney challenged the board’s authority.

Similar claims are the subject of a lawsuit against the Board of Ethics by former DeKalb Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton.

Her lawsuit says the Georgia Constitution requires board members to be appointed by elected officials rather than by private organizations.

A judge may soon rule on the lawsuit.