Jeff Breedlove, DeKalb County Commissioner Nancy Jester’s chief of staff, has spoken with disdain of the perils of Ember Drive. The short dead-end street off Candler Road is plagued by crime and “may be ground zero of everything wrong in south Dekalb County,” the longtime political strategist said in September.
Now, police believe Breedlove went to Ember Drive to meet a crack cocaine dealer.
The 49-year-old county employee told them as much Monday, confessing an addiction to an officer after falsely claiming he’d been held captive in a hotel, according to a police report released Tuesday.
The officer noted Breedlove also said he was “a very important person” and couldn’t get into trouble.
The commissioner has fired Breedlove.
“He was a very good public employee,” Jester told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday. “It’s unfortunate that some of his personal struggles got the better of him.”
Breedlove’s encounter with DeKalb police began when officers were summoned Monday morning to Budget Inn and Suites on Memorial Drive, where he claimed he was held against his will. He hadn’t shown up for work and had missed a breast cancer charity walk over the weekend, according to Jester.
Once officers arrived, Breedlove reportedly didn’t say anything about being in danger, only that he had a problem with crack cocaine and owed $200 to the dealer in the room.
“Mr. Breedlove kept repeating, ‘I do not want to get in trouble or incriminate myself,’” the officer wrote. “Mr. Breedlove asked me if we could make this go away and told me if I needed anything from him he would do it.”
Breedlove said he needed to get help and only his family knew of his drug habit, the report said.
He and the dealer had connected three days earlier at Ember Drive’s A2B Budget Hotel, Breedlove told police. Just down the street sits Creekside Forest Apartment Homes, a blighted complex Jester and Breedlove have raised concerns about recently.
Breedlove was charged with false report of a crime, a felony.
He remained in the county jail Tuesday. His wife declined to comment.
The alleged crack dealer wasn’t arrested. Nor was an 18-year-old Lithonia woman, who was also in the room and said she didn’t know Breedlove. The report doesn’t list any drugs found in the room.
Breedlove worked as a strategist in John Oxendine’s failed bid for governor in 2010. He was campaign manager and chief strategist in Bob Barr’s attempt to return to Congress in 2014.
Jester, who represents north DeKalb, said she terminated Breedlove after he didn’t report to work Monday. Breedlove was hired in early 2015, soon after Jester was elected to replace former Commissioner Elaine Boyer.
“He was always productive until this recent event,” Jester said.
DeKalb Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton called the incident “disgraceful.”
“This is so bizarre,” she told the AJC on Tuesday. “What a hypocrite.”
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