Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Yet another fork in the road

The latest twist on the corruption trial - from today's AJC. Click here for the article.

President Barack Obama appointed DeKalb County District Attorney Gwen Keyes Fleming to be the next regional Environmental Protection Agency administrator.

Fleming announced her resignation Wednesday.

What does this mean for the Lewis/Pope/Reid/Moody corruption trial? Personally, I don't think it will have much of an effect at all. In fact, I would imagine that the trial has been handled mostly by the Assistant DA and staff all along. I think Gwen Keyes did the only thing she could do in this matter - make the decision to file charges. This gutsy move against people she knows well personally may even be what made her a choice for the EPA job. Obama was probably impressed.

I predict the trial will carry on as usual. Any attorneys willing to weigh in?


Anonymous said...

you have got to be kidding long has she known she was in the running and did the judge know...this case had better not fall apart because the lead D.A. is taking another position..darn darn darn (in my Herman Monster voice while jumping up and down)

Anonymous said...

I'm with you Herman! I'm very nervous and cynical. Arne Duncan, Federal Education Secretary, and Clew are friends! Could this had been a preemptive move by Obama Administration. I know, I know, but I'm just saying......

The Asst. DA has a tough task ahead and let's hope he/she does not drop the ball and moves on quickly with the trial.

Any Attorney's want to weigh in?

Anonymous said...

Again, I think that she wasn't doing the heavy lifting and the trial wasn't set to start like next week, so the impact is much less than it could be.

I think the "drama" of who gets the job will be interesting to watch. Of course, I don't even know the procedure to understand how it will be filled.

Anonymous said...

Why do you think Lewis and Duncan were friends? Because they were seen together a few times? Kathy Cox was seen with Bush several times and when she needed help lowering the math standards, all she got was the cold shoulder.

I think Fleming jumped at job security and the ability not to have to run for a position again.

Cerebration said...

Lewis was a speaker at an America's Choice symposium which featured Arne Duncan as the keynote speaker. That's the only 'relationship' I'm aware of - it's pretty obscure.

Anonymous said...

Job security? Not hardly. Those appointed positions turn over every four years.

Anonymous said...

I sure hope that the trial takes place this year and that this will not delay it. I also hope this was not plan so they can put the trial off. These people need to have to pay for all they taken from our children.

I have heard that they all party together and they were friends. I have always had a great deal of respect for ms. keys and i hope she will make sure that she takes of dekalb before she leaves.

Dan Magee said...

Hey Jeff, there are some parents who will heavily doubt your statement below about trailers. From years of experience.

And 'We"?? You just started and you're not even a system employee. You're a contractor. Wondering if you'll refrain from comment on your "Georgia Gang" TV show when the Lewis/Pope trial comes up, and it will be one of the biggest media stories in the state.
Jeff's firm " has helped some of Atlanta’s most prominent organizations manage public crises". He couldn't have picked a more crisis-ridden client!!

The contracts DCSS has awarded for school trailers have always raised some red flags, but no BOE member has ever been willing to take a serious look into the issue. And some of the trailers are in deplorable condition, like the one at Laurel Ridge Elementary.

But Jeff Dickerson is confident that they are only used as it must be true.

DeKalb County

Schools spokesman Jeff Dickerson said the DeKalb County district leased 389 trailers and owned 274 for a total of 663 units in 2005. In 2010, the total is 450 units.

"We use portable classrooms only as needed," Dickerson said.

Anonymous said...

How many Federal jobs are there? There's a big wagon full of these bureaucrats and there are fewer and fewer of us to pull the wagon. I want to see justice done - I want a fair trial for these accused. However, I am pessimistic about any conviction of these four in Dekalb County.

Anonymous said...

Absolute bombshell. Cannot be overstated.
More later after my head clears.

Anonymous said...

Keyes leaving is not a blow to the prosecution because the lead prosecutor is a private attorney, John Floyd, who has been hired by the Dekalb DA's office to be a special prosecutor. (How much is this costing tax payers?)

However for the life of me I do not understand why Keyes is qualified to be the Regional Administrator for EPA.

Anonymous said...

The EPA Regional Administrator position is one where you serve at the pleasure of the President. If the President isn't re-elected in 2012, all political appointees begin their job searches the Wednesday after Election Day. Being a Regional Administrator is great resume fodder, especially when you are an attorney.

Anonymous said...

Wonder how much Jeff Dickerson is getting paid. Looking at his client list, it's has to be a pretty penny. Love how he said "we" already.

Anonymous said...

I know that every government/county has their share of garbage. But sometimes, these days, it seems that DeKalb takes the prize. Yeah, us!

DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis fired the county's chief operating officer Thursday amid charges that he had an improper relationship with a water department secretary.

Anonymous said...

"Smack down"--Dana TraBue takes down Keith Barker. He goes, she stays.
This ain't school news, but someone else brought it up. Mainly goes to the issue of making enemies and gettin' got.
That happens in the schools too.

Keep it in your pants boys, no matter how much they flirt. Don't go for the money when it is offered to you, keep meticulous records on expenses, make sure the tape ain't runnin' when you say the words "black" or "white" and for god sakes, don't use e-mail for anything but one sentence replies.

Even all of that probably won't be good enuf if you're the good guy, trying to save a little govt money and possibly considering a little whisteblowing or leaking to the press.

Anonymous said...

Jeff Dickerson is in there to make sure this thing gets cleaned up and kept quiet for the power structure. Keep an eye on things. He's an establishemnt man--connections to downtown law firms. Thats how he got on Georgia Gang. K&S runs this guy.

Anonymous said...

Think about the DA appointment process. The governor appoints the interim replacement--but which governor?
Does Sonny have time to get a Republican in? No matter, whoever comes in will be a heck of a lot more aggressive than Keyes was. However, it will be interesting which white colar stuff he/she goes after.
Both Establishment Dems and Reps are in full attack mode on "urban" governments....all over the nation really.
However, those officials have left the door wiiiiiide open--and had some "uppity" ideas. Can't have that.

Burrell Ellis is about to find this out for backing an out-of-town developer. His law firm Was (is) scheduled to do the bonds to match the stimulus--whether on Doravill/GM or not. The bonds will go to capture the stimulus. Ellis' buds get paid.

Anonymous said...

US Attorney's office would have made this recommndation. Gotta wonder why?
What interests would Sally Yates have in mind?
Hmmm...what interests does Sally Yates have in the school corruption trial?
Who wants a little more control over buttoning up trial nothing inadvertant comes out about Atlanta Commerce Club (and such) members?
The timing on this announcement definitely is connected to the trial because Obama would have waited until after the elections for any chance to get a Democratic governor to make the replacement appointment.
I know the acting Regional EPA chief--he's been in limbo since Obama been in office.

Anonymous said...

I doubt Obama cares much about a county DA position. Not one bit.

Anonymous said...

So anyone know how much Jeff Dickerson is getting paid? Remember, this is a guy who has defended Vernon Jones time and time again on The Georgia Gang.

Anonymous said...

I kind of think that a trailer that has remained on school property for more than a decade is permanent. Is this what we want for our kids?

Anonymous said...

I think she will do a good job. There is a great deal of corruption in the EPA that needs to be cleaned up. I do believe she is the person for the job. I am aware of some of the corruption. She took on the Dekalb County School System head on. I suspect someone things the EPA in this region also needs to be taken on.

I also suspect there are some other federal investigations going on which Flemings has been helpful in that might be connected to the school board. What ever happen to the housing authority federal investigation? What other concerns do our legislature members from under the Gold Dome concerned about?

Anonymous said...

ANON 8:36 and ANON 5:26.
From the DCSS BOE meeting 08/27/2010.
Jeff Dickerson was rehired for his Crisis Management public relations position at DCSS at a cost of $18,750 for SIX weeks. 09/01/2010 until 10/15/2010. The guy is costing Dekalb county taxpayers $3,125 per week. This is in addition to his other clients (APS).
I hope this answers your question.
Sagamore 7

Anonymous said...

Maybe, Keyes is leaving because she knows her friends (DCSS) that she entertains during off hours are going to jail . And leaving, will get her off the hook with them. It is just off timing to me. I know everyone wants to do better, but you would really question what is the real reason as Oprah would say.
DCSS needs a DA for the Lewis
trial mess and other scandals within the system who is really going to enforce the law on these individuals and not let them escape
Truth be told, it will be a sad day in DCSS if these people involved in all of these scandals are not prosecuted to the fullest.

Taxpayers in DCSS have surely lost a lot of money supporting these people from the school system over the past years. Taxes have increase on our homes and all we have received are their bills from their high tech lawyers that we are paying thru property taxes.
Gwen, please leave your documentation in order for the next DA to prosecute without any problems.

Anonymous said...

EPA may be a good stepping stone to the Federal Bench. It also gets her "off the hook" for any "wrong doing" she's done to 'friends' and "political connections" at New Birth. Yes, very cynical and I really wonder about the timing of the indictments and when she knew about the appiointment (they don't happen overnight). She was very involved with the Obama campaign.

Anonymous said...

Correct. This position will allow Keyes to remain friends with the indicted people. As the old folks use to say, don't burn your bridges because you might need to walk across those same bridges one day.
Taxpayers of Dekalb County will be watching and waiting to see how all of these embezzlers, gasoline gate, bookgate, nepotism gate, and other gates will play out.
Put little stock in the SACS investigation. Some members of the committee maybe friends of the family plan that runs DCSS, attend the get rich church (NewMoney Birth), same college fraternity or sorority, so donot be alarmed when the results are published.
Is there a list of the people who will actually conduct the investigation? Hopefully the list will be published for taxpayers to see who these people are. From here, everyone can see or recognize names that may have connections with the corrupt members of DCSS. (Food for thought)

Anonymous said...

So interim DA Yvonne Hicks and her Husband Karl, with a K, is chummy with Crawford Lewis. GREAT!

Cere, you are just full of good news!

Could Yvonne Hicks recuse herself from anything doing with the trial? maybe she SHOULD! I smell a rat here and it worries me that this trial is headed down the wrong road. I hate forks in the road!

Anonymous said...

Was there some issue with Karl with a K during the election or before? I have a vague recollection of this....

Cerebration said...

Yes, it was discovered that he had been charged with assault with intent to kill in 1983 at the age of 25 in King County, (Seattle) Washington. Apparently, he shot a police officer who was at his home to serve a search warrant. Karl's response to stories at the time stated that he was in his bedroom and the police tried to break in and he shot the officer, not realizing it was a police officer.

From CrossRoads News:

White, a minister, who introduces himself on the campaign trail as "Karl with a K," says his is a story of redemption and rising above a bad incident to make good of his life.

He said he shot a man who broke into his Seattle home in the dark in 1983. The man, who was hospitalized for 12 days but recovered, turned out to be a police officer with asearch warrant.

"I was in my bedroom when I heard what I thought was a gang of armed men breaking down the front door of our home and running through the house," White, now 50, said in an Oct. 16 statement released to the media. "No announcement, no warning, nothing was being said by this group of men."

Due to the facts and circumstances surrounding the case, White said he served five years on probation and received an order of dismissal. He says he has made no secret of the incident and that he uses it in his sermons and in his work with at-risk youths, but he did not include the incident in the narrative about his life on his website.

Karl and Javoyne have been married since Dec 2007, according to CrossRoads News below -- Javoyne's first husband, Charles Hicks, died of a suicide in August, 2004.

From Crossroads News December 2007 -

Hicks and White wed in Mexico

Javoyne Hicks White and new hubby, Karl White, on Mexico's Puerto Vallarta beach.

Published: Wednesday, December 26, 2007 3:20 PM CST

DeKalb Chief Assistant District Attorney Javoyne Hicks has added White to her name following her Nov. 24 marriage to Karl White.

The couple met at Victory Church three years ago when Karl was an assistant minister there and Javoyne was a member. He is now starting his own church, Effectual Fervent Ministries. They took their wedding vows on a beach in Puerto Vallarta, Mexicosurrounded by 26 close family members and friends.

Hicks is the widow of the late County Attorney Charles Hicks. Hicks and White have three daughters between them.

Anonymous said...

Since this is a political appointment, Keyes will be at the EPA for not more than two years because Mr. Obama will leave office them. Dekalb County is imploding! The School Superintendent and Chief Operations Officer have been indicted and are awaiting trial, the County Chief Operations Officer has been fired and paid $100,000 severance for fooling around with a woman not his wife on county time, the Water Shed Director is being investigated because he allegedly can't keep his hands off women, principals are writing books and submitting vouchers for the school system to buy them, the County's Communications Director "resigned" and was paid $45,000 to leave after she ranted about some murder in another city, we just paid over 900 county employees to retire early and then did an "Oh My Gosh" and decided that we needed to fill 700 of those positions while we re-employed half of those early retirees to come back to work for six months and receive half pay in addition to their retirement, the School System's accreditation is in jeopardy and, I assume, Zepora is still being "bullyied".

Will election day ever arrive?

Anonymous said...

Anon. 12:40am! Great synopsis of DeKalb's ills.. Just think, Vernon Jones isn't even around to kick around!

All is well in DeKalb, no need to look farther!

You think a realtor would reprint your post in their ads to sell a home in DeKalb County? I'm just saying.....

Anonymous said...

The school system's accreditation is not in jeopardy.

Anonymous said...

From State Senator Mike Jacobs:

Jaheem Herrera was a fifth grader at DeKalb County’s Dunaire Elementary School who committed suicide in 2009 after repeated incidents of school bullying.

In the wake of this tragedy, I was approached by concerned DeKalb citizens, including some of my own constituents, to look into the adequacy of Georgia’s anti-bullying statute. I was dismayed at what I found and became determined to fix it.

The law that was on the books in 2009 did not even cover the Jaheem Herrera situation because it applied only to grades 6 through 12. The old law included a virtually useless definition of “bullying.” Overall, Georgia’s anti-bullying statute was bare bones and inadequate.

43 states have anti-bullying laws. Until this year, Georgia’s law was the oldest of the 43. A lot of states had come up with better ways to address the issue after Georgia initially enacted its statute.

My first attempt at anti-bullying legislation was introduced as House Bill 927 (click for information). The version of HB 927 that finally emerged from a House committee set forth a substantially improved definition of “bullying” that better captured what bullying is, without being overbearing. The bill required local school systems to adopt an age-appropriate range of consequences for bullying incidents in grades K through 12, not just 6 through 12. In addition, for the first time in Georgia law, the bill required that the parents of the students involved on both sides of a bullying incident be notified of the incident.

The bill faced a steep uphill climb in the House of Representatives, but after a couple of close calls in the House, it sailed to passage in the State Senate. Ultimately, the anti-bullying language had to be amended onto another bill that dealt with disruptive behavior on school buses, Senate Bill 250 (click for information), in order to win final approval in the General Assembly. SB 250, including the “Jacobs Amendment” on school bullying, was signed into law by Governor Perdue on May 27, 2010. Click here to see a photograph of the bill signing ceremony.

While the anti-bullying bill was winding its way through the General Assembly, headline-grabbing school bullying problems came to light in Massachusetts, in Texas, and in Murray County, Georgia. These incidents underscored why the legislation was necessary. Even the Savannah Morning News chimed in with an editorial supporting the bill. If you're interested, you can read the Savannah editorial here.

By August 2011, every local school system in Georgia is required to review and revamp its anti-bullying policy. Parents who are concerned about this issue are encouraged to talk with their local school board members while they are in the process of reviewing and improving the anti-bullying policy in your school district.

Anonymous said...

We can believe what we choose to believe. SACS is in the business of setting standards, measuring performance of school systems by those standards, and issuing accreditation to those that satisfy standards. Whenever SACS chooses to open an investigation into an accredited system at a time other than normal intervals, it is very, very serious. For whatever reason, SACS has reason to question the Dekalb County School System's conformance to its standards. It has basically three options:

1. Affirm the System's accreditation

2. Place the System on probation

3. Remove the System's accreditation.

SACS is not a social club nor is its purpose to "develop" a school system. Its purpose is to certify a System's compliance with standards. That is what is at question in this case and we should avoid jumping to any conclusion that "the System's accreditation is not at risk".

Our response to SACS is due today. Let's hope that it addresses SACS' concerns for the sake of our children and our community.

Paula Caldarella said...

Actually, the response to SACS is due 9/11, but was sent to SACS yesterday, 9/9.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 1:22am, thanks for sharing information about the role of SACS. Some seem to think that SACS should address concerns about school overcrowding and trailers. If SACS got involved in issues like these, they would be overstepping their authority.