Doug Chalmers, an attorney for former DeKalb Commissioner Stan Watson, argued that the ethics case against Watson shouldn’t move forward on Thursday. The DeKalb Board of Ethics found there was probable cause to move the case to a full hearing. MARK NIESSE / MARK.NIESSE@AJC.COM

Ethics case advances against ex-DeKalb Commissioner Watson

Former DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Watson may soon face a final ethics hearing on charges related to his spending of more than $90,000 raised from county contractors.

The DeKalb Board of Ethics voted 6-0 on Thursday to find there was probable cause to move forward with the case.

Watson is accused of soliciting donations for county events from contractors, using county resources to raise money for his political campaign committee and removing records from his office when he resigned in March, according to a report prepared by DeKalb Ethics Officer Stacey Kalberman.

Watson’s attorney, Doug Chalmers, raised many objections, including that the allegations lacked specificity and that Kalberman’s report didn’t comply with requirements of the DeKalb Code of Ethics.

The board then decided to move forward with the case.

Watson said last year that he raised funds from vendors so that he wouldn’t have to use taxpayer money for various events including the DeKalb International Food and Music Festival, the DeKalb Police Alliance and community breakfast meetings.

Watson left office in March to make an unsuccessful run for DeKalb tax commissioner, but he could still face fines up to $1,000 if he’s found to have violated the Code of Ethics.

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