Kelly Cato, who once worked as an aide to former DeKalb Commissioner Stan Watson, testifies in an ethics hearing about whether he used secret funds to solicit money from county vendors.

DeKalb ethics board fines Stan Watson $9,000

DeKalb County’s Board of Ethics voted to fine former Commissioner Stan Watson $9,000 for using public resources for campaign duties and soliciting donations from county vendors on five different occasions.

Neither Watson nor anyone representing him attended Thurday’s hearing. Most of the testimony about fundraising activities during his tenure came from his former aide, Kelly Cato. The other witnesses were Jay Vinicki, the county’s budget director, and purchasing department employee Felton Williams.

VIDEO: Previous coverage of this issue

Stan Watson is accused of converting travel checks for his own use.

After about two hours of testimony, the Ethics Board deliberated and decided there was enough evidence to cite Watson for two types of ethics violations. The fine represent $1,000 per violation at four events and a fifth where one violation was determined.

Watson is accused of using secret accounts to funnel money he raised from vendors who do business with the county and using the dollars to finance events that also promoted his re-election bid.

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