Sandy Springs solicitor resigns after husband’s ties to synthetic pot trade exposed

The recently appointed assistant solicitor for Sandy Springs resigned Wednesday after city officials learned her husband is about to be sentenced on federal drug trafficking charges.

Thomas William Malone Jr. pleaded guilty in September to conspiring to distribute a controlled dangerous substance. Apparently city officials were unaware of those charges when his wife, Jeannine Malone, was sworn in Dec. 3.

They were made aware of the relationship by Lance Dyer, the father of the Bremen teenager who shot himself last March after ingesting spice, or synthetic marijuana, manufactured by NutraGenomics, a company co-owned by Thomas Malone and Drew Green, both of Roswell. Each faces up to 20 years in prison.

Malone and Green acknowledged that they skirted federal and state laws banning the cannabinoid substances used in their product by slightly altering the chemical structure in their designer drug, marketed as “Mr. Miyagi.”

“Their goal was to make sure they could make a profit on the substances that they knew would be ingested by consumers,” said U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley of the Western District of Louisiana, who brought the case.

Dyer said he was “floored” when he learned that Jeannine Malone had been named assistant solicitor.

“She did not make the officials in Sandy Springs aware of her affiliation or fringe association through her husband with the synthetic drug industry,” Dyer said. “That in my opinion created a major conflict of interest.”

Dyer alerted a Sandy Springs police officer about Malone’s ties to the synthetic pot trade and the officer subsequently notified the chief of police, who passed the information up the chain of command.

Sandy Springs city attorney Wendell Willard confirmed that Malone was asked to resign but declined further comment.

“I resigned my professional relationship with the city of Sandy Springs so that the city would not be part of any discussion about my husband’s legal issue,” she said in a statement.