Tag Archives: investigation

Corruption in DeKalb meets consequences

Bid rigging and kickbacks? I’m sure that’s only in Atlanta…. Anyway, it turns out it’s not so much DeKalb County that’s a slum as the county government.

Somebody at AJC wrote yesterday, DeKalb to review government restructuring,

A day after a yearlong investigation into DeKalb contracting was made public — a report that detailed a culture of corruption that permeates county government — DeKalb commissioners say they will review how the county is governed and seek changes.

A special purpose grand jury investigating contracting in DeKalb’s water department recommended the county get rid of its CEO form of government. DeKalb is almost singular in the authority it gives its CEO, a countywide elected official who runs the day-to-day operations of Georgia’s third-largest county.

That authority, according to the report, was used to steer tens of millions of dollars in contracts to favored vendors. Suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis has been charged with extortion for allegedly strongarming vendors into donating to his campaign.

Interim DeKalb CEO Lee May said the county will review its governing structure over the next 30 days and propose some recommendations on how to improve operations, especially contracting.

WSBTV reported Wednesday, DeKalb special grand jury recommends 12 for criminal investigation: Key county officials include former CEO and public safety director.

CBS Atlanta wrote 17 July 2013, Governor Deal Suspends Dekalb County CEO Burrell Ellis, Continue reading

VDT should dig deeper into county trash

The VDT should dig deeper into the finances of Lowndes County trash collection. Nobody has ever seen an accounting of where where the money went for the county’s former waste collection sites, so nobody knows whether the county was really losing money or how much, and the county’s version of how those sites had to be paid for doesn’t match state law.. Sure, Bill Slaughter defending a decision made when Ashley Paulk was chair is amusing, but instead of transcribing what county officials tell it, the VDT could find lots more under the county’s garbage with a little digging.

Jason Schaefer write for the VDT Thursday, Concerns continue over garbage agreement: Business owner argues case against County

The County is not required under Georgia law to issue RFPs to any company for waste disposal services, according to Slaughter. That decision was made in a good-faith effort to find the lowest possible rate for garbage service for the citizens of Lowndes County, he said Tuesday.

Is that the point of county government, to act like Wal-Mart? Is money the only value the county government can name? Everyone I talked to about the trash issue in 2012 who already had a waste collection card said they’d be willing to pay more to keep the sites open. Maybe if the county had held public hearings they would have learned that.

And does anyone believe ADS’s rates are going to stay that low? Look at Wakulla, Florida, where it’s $196/year. But the bigger question is why did the county privatize trash collection anyway?

Continue reading

More injured and euthanized animals

Why does this sound familiar?
After a 2 1/2-hour closed-door board meeting Wednesday, SPCA of Niagara board president Bruno Scrufari III announced the request for the probe, in the wake of charges by board member Kathy Paradowski, former veterinary technician Kari E. McAlee-Miller and others that animals were unnecessarily euthanized and that injured animals brought to the shelter were left untreated.
There are a few differences from the local situation here.

Thomas J. Prohaska wrote yesterday for BuffaloNews.com, SPCA in Erie County to probe charges against Faso: Niagara board president announces request for investigation of claims,

Barbara Carr, executive director of the SPCA Serving Erie County, said her board of directors, which meets today, would have to approve the investigation, but she doesn’t expect any difficulty in winning approval.

There will be at least one key condition: “I wouldn’t do an investigation unless the document we produced was made public,” Carr said.

The relevant local authorities welcome an investigation and insist on making the results public. Imagine that!

And, according to Dave McKinley yesterday at wgrz.com, Niagara Co. SPCA Approves Outside Investigation Of Its Animal Shelter Continue reading

There are problems at the animal shelter. They have not been resolved.

I think it’s time to ask: what did they know, and when did they know it?

Let’s construct a timeline:

  • 2011-05-20 euthanasia violation
  • 2011-05-20 statement from Heather Terry
  • 2011-05-23 County Manager Joe Pritchard tells the Commission and the public:
    “We were not able to substantiate … accusations other than that … castration of pig.”
    That was even though WCTV already reported there had been several euthanasia violations last year.

    Pritchard also said they (the county in its previous investigation, presumably the one of 2010) examined the character of those testifying for the complaints and he said they found biases.

  • 2011-05-24 County Commission Chairman Ashley Paulk tells the Commission and the public:
    “Whatever problems there are, they’re going to be resolved.”
  • 2011-05-24 The VDT quotes County Manager Joe Pritchard as saying:
    “It’s no longer a case of an individual making a claim, as it will be evident by the physical evidence provided by the security cameras.”
    “You take that policy, coupled with the updated standard operating procedures, added to the technical verification and I think that addresses the issues. My purpose is to eliminate any problem or potential problem.”
  • 2011-05-31 statement by Director Linda Patelski saying two people fired for euthanasia violation of 20 May 2011
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Somebody has gotten fired at the animal shelter

Improper use of drugs for euthanizing animals is apparently enough to get someone fired from the animal shelter, at least if there is a parade of witnesses and paperwork, but only after someone files a complaint with GA Dept. of Ag.

On 16 June 2011 Susan Leavens got a letter from Shirley King, with attached PDF, containing:

  • complaint from Susan Leavens (unknown date):
    “Employee working with Lowndes County Animal Services euthanizing animals wihtout certification.”
  • 2011-06-03 PDF notice of violation from Ga. Dept. Ag. to Lowndes Co. Animal Services
  • a long handwritten statement by Pat Smith, also annotated:
    “Copy of report received by [signed] Joe Pritchard 6-3-11”
Continue reading

Why are these reports not on the desk of the sheriff? —Jane Osborn

This comment from Jane Osborn came in last night on County Animal Shelter Issues. A good place to ask such questions of public officials might be at this evening’s County Commission meeting, 5:30 PM, 327 N. Ashley Street. Sheriff Chris Prine is often in attendance. -jsq
Abuse of an animal is a criminal offense. The GA Dept. of Agriculture is a regulatory agency able only to issue fines, not pursue criminal investigations. Why are these reports not on the desk of the sheriff of Lowndes County for criminal investigation? Dismissing the allegations because the people whose testimony was taken might be biased does no service to the current or future animals that will pass through the shelter.

FBI investigating CCA “Gladiator School”

Rebecca Boone wrote for AP, 30 November 2010 that Video release prompts FBI prison investigation: Critics claim the privately run Idaho Correctional Center uses inmate-on-inmate violence

Jessie L. Bonner / AP file

Former inmate Hanni Elabed is shown during a July 26 interview in Boise, Idaho. Elabed suffered brain damage and persistent short-term memory loss after he was beaten by another inmate while multiple guards watched at the Idaho prison operated by Corrections Corporation of America.

The surveillance video from the overhead cameras shows Hanni Elabed being beaten by a fellow inmate in an Idaho prison, managing to bang on a prison guard station window, pleading for help. Behind the glass, correctional officers look on, but no one intervenes when Elabed is knocked unconscious.

No one steps into the cellblock when the attacker sits down to rest, and no one stops him when he resumes the beating.

Videos of the attack obtained by The Associated Press show officers watching the beating for several minutes. The footage is a key piece of evidence for critics who claim the privately run Idaho Correctional Center uses inmate-on-inmate violence to force prisoners to snitch on their cellmates or risk being moved to extremely violent units.

On Tuesday, hours after the AP published the video, the top federal prosecutor in Idaho told the AP that the FBI has been investigating whether guards violated the civil rights of inmates at the prison, which is run by the Corrections Corporation of America.

What is the inmates’ nickname for this CCA-run prison? Gladiator school.

There is a lot more in the article.