Ethics case against DeKalb Commissioner Sutton put on hold

A judge is preventing a final ethics hearing against DeKalb Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton from going forward as a legal case is pending.

The DeKalb Board of Ethics had been scheduled to consider allegations Thursday that Sutton misspent public money, but Superior Court Judge Courtney Johnson granted a temporary stay Monday.

Sutton faces allegations that she abused her county purchasing card, used government employees at a political fundraising event and spent taxpayer funds on her personal attorney.

Sutton has said her spending was for legitimate government purposes.

The judge’s order came in response to a court filing by Sutton last week that questioned the Board of Ethics’ authority.

Sutton's attorney, Dwight Thomas, wrote in his motion that the board's power was nullified when voters approved its restructuring during a Nov. 3 referendum.

An overhauled DeKalb Board of Ethics will be appointed by community organizations instead of the county's commissioners and CEO, a change supported by 92 percent of voters. The new board will take office Jan. 1.