DeKalb County

Elly Yu / WABE


DeKalb County residents turned out to a town hall meeting in Brookhaven Tuesday night to discuss a recent report into countywide government corruption. 

DeKalb County Commissioner Nancy Jester, hosted the meeting of about 50 residents. She told the residents she recently introduced a measure that could prevent the abuse of county funds. 

"It should never be the case that these expenditures, that were illegal, questionable should have ever gotten out," she said.

Courtesy Office of Gov. Nathan Deal

Last week, special investigators released a scathing report on corruption in DeKalb County. In it, investigators Mike Bowers and Richard Hyde called on DeKalb CEO Lee May to resign.

Gov. Nathan Deal appointed May to the position more than two years ago when former CEO Burrell Ellis was indicted on corruption charges. Tuesday, Deal said he doesn’t regret tapping May for the post.

A proposal to build a soccer stadium in DeKalb County was approved by a majority of commissioners last month, but it faced fierce opposition at a meeting Monday night.

DeKalb Commissioners Nancy Jester, Kathie Gannon and Jeff Rader hosted what they called a “community conversation” about DeKalb County's stadium deal with the new professional soccer team Atlanta United FC. All three voted against the plan, but were outnumbered by the other four commissioners.

About 70 residents attended the meeting. Some were upset the deal was approved without public input.

Rosalie, a dog up for adoption at Dekalb County Animal Services
Dekalb County Animal Services

If the Atlanta United Football Club builds its practice facilities in DeKalb County, one of the buildings set for demolition will be the county animal shelter.

There are plans for a new shelter near DeKalb-Peachtree Airport, but at least one county commissioner says it's unlikely it will be ready in time.

Commissioner Jeff Rader says the county will need to spend a lot more money than the $7 million budgeted for the new animal shelter.

Mayor: Dunwoody Attracting High-Tech, White-Collar Companies

Sep 23, 2015
Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis joins A Closer Look to talk about the city of Dunwoody and new developments in the area.
Brenna Beech / WABE

Dunwoody, Georgia, a northern suburb of Atlanta, is located in DeKalb County where Interstate 400 intersects with Interstate 285.

More than 46,000 people call Dunwoody home, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

The city boasts a range of amenities, including shopping, entertainment, hotels, office space, the nearby DeKalb-Peachtree Airport and more. 

The city's wide range of offerings is what's drawing high-tech and white-collar companies to Dunwoody, according to Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis.

A rose and flag rest on the 9/11 memorial during DeKalb County's 9/11 commemoration.
Molly Samuel / WABE

On the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, DeKalb County commemorated the day with a color guard and moment of silence at its police and fire headquarters. 

No one spoke at Friday's ceremony, which was held in front of a memorial to the people who lost their lives in the attacks -- when planes were hijacked and hit the World Trade Center's twin towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a field in Pennsylvania.

DeKalb Interim CEO Lee May called a Wednesday press conference to "set the record straight" on the county's handling of tax dollars to entice a professional soccer club. He also, for the first time, publicly addressed a scathing, preliminary report that l
Jim Burress / WABE


Details about government corruption in DeKalb County could be revealed next week in a long-awaited report, according to Burke Brennan, a county spokesperson.

Earlier this month, former Attorney General Mike Bowers and investigator Richard Hyde, sent a scathing letter to the county, giving a sneak preview into their investigation.

Dekalb County Interim CEO Lee May and Mike Bowers at the podium
Lisa George / WABE

A former DeKalb County judge was indicted; then the charges were suddenly dropped.

The deadline for a report on DeKalb County government corruption by two special investigators has come and gone.

Colleges are back in session, and there’s already been two reports of sexual assaults at Kennesaw State University and an allegation of racial harassment by fraternity members at Georgia Tech.

WABE legal analyst Page Pate joined Rose Scott and Denis O’Hayer to discuss these issues and take a more in-depth look at the cases on “Closer Look.”

Tenth grade students take a chemistry test while in class at Springfield High School in Springfield, Ill. Illinois high school juniors will be tested on writing skills for the first time in years next spring during state standardized tests.
Seth Perlman / AP Photo, File

The DeKalb County School District announced Tuesday it will change the dates of two mandatory standardized tests, after the original dates conflicted with Jewish and Muslim Holidays.

The district says it will move the Iowa Test of Basic Skills dates to earlier in September, while the Cognitive Abilities Test will move to early October.

DeKalb Schools had originally slated CogAT and ITBS testing from Sept. 8-11 and Sept. 14-25, respectively. Those dates conflicted with the Jewish Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, as well as the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha.

Police Killings Not All On Police, Says DeKalb’s Top Cop

Aug 20, 2015
Protesters gather in front of the Ferguson Police Department before the announcement of the grand jury decision about whether to indict a Ferguson police officer in the shooting death of Michael Brown
Charlie Riedel / Associated Press

Protesters and authorities clashed in St. Louis Wednesday night after an African-American man was killed by police earlier in the day. Officers went to a home to serve a warrant when a suspect, identified as Mansur Ball-Bey, pulled a gun on officers and was shot and killed, according to police.

Relations between some predominantly minority communities and police in several cities around the country have been contentious and fractured for some time, and escalated even more after the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., just over a year ago.

In this June 10, 2015 photo, Ashley Madison's Korean website is shown on a computer screen in Seoul, South Korea. Hackers claim to have leaked a massive database of users from Ashley Madison, a matchmaking website for cheating spouses. In a statement rele
Lee Jin-man, File / Associated Press

Several Georgia governments say they're investigating after city, county and state agency email addresses were found in data hackers exposed from a website used by people trying to cheat on their spouses.

Hackers claim they've exposed unfaithful partners across the world, posting what they said were the personal details of millions of people registered with website Ashley Madison.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that several email addresses hosted by government servers for cities and counties across Georgia are included in the data released by hackers.

Lee May, interim Dekalb County CEO, speaks in the studio on Aug. 13, 2015.
Stephanie M. Lennox / WABE

The final report on DeKalb County government corruption is due out before the end of the month. Depending on what’s in the report from special investigator Mike Bowers, the investigation may continue, Interim CEO Lee May said.

May said recently there is no more funding for an ongoing corruption investigation, but he seemed to back off that statement during an interview on “A Closer Look,” in which he clarified the remark.  

Atlanta United

DeKalb County's deal with Atlanta United FC to construct a $30 million soccer complex near the Kensington MARTA station represents yet another stadium building venture in metro Atlanta.

But while some Atlanta residents have grown wary of stadium deals and the sometimes destructive development that comes with them, Curbed Atlanta editor Michael Kahn says there is reason to be optimistic.

Dan Raby/WABE News

As a new school year begins, some students aren’t just changing grades; they’re changing schools.

Brothers Collin and Sean Lynch are both making that kind of transition this year. Collin will start kindergarten in Fulton County. He has an idea of what’s ahead.

“I bet kindergarten’s not going to have that much painting,” he says.

He’ll also take the bus for the first time. His mom, Melissa Lynch, says it’s a transition for her too.

The DeKalb Commission voted earlier that day to approve the agreement with Atlanta United FC, one that would involve a $12 million investment by the county.
Atlanta United

The new Atlanta United soccer franchise announced Tuesday that it had chosen DeKalb County for its headquarters and $35 million training facility. The DeKalb Commission voted earlier that day to approve the agreement with Atlanta United FC, one that would involve a $12 million investment by the county.

"Finally, something good is happening in DeKalb County.”

Mike Bowers on A Closer Look, March 27, 2015
Jason Parker / WABE

A new exchange of letters between interim DeKalb CEO Lee May and special investigator Mike Bowers reveals a fundamental dispute between the two about how long the government corruption probe headed by Bowers can continue.  In his message, May also sharply criticizes the language Bowers used in an earlier letter – in which Bowers said he found DeKalb County government “rotten to the core.”

Dekalb County Interim CEO Lee May and Mike Bowers at the podium
Lisa George / WABE

DeKalb County officials are reacting to a scathing letter that accuses the county's government of being "rotten to the core." It's part of an investigation into corruption in the county.

Cutout from a letter to interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May, former Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers
DeKalb County

Update 6:00 p.m. with a statement from Interim CEO Lee May.

WABE has obtained a copy of a letter sent to DeKalb County’s Interim CEO Lee May, sent by the special corruption investigators he appointed, which says “The DeKalb County government we have found is rotten to the core.”  The letter also indicates the investigators feel they are being improperly – and perhaps illegally – blocked from completing their probe.

A female rides down the slide at Slide The City.
IQRemix /

A water boil advisory that was in effect for three days in DeKalb County hurt some local businesses.

The county issued the advisory because crews had to drop the water pressure three times within 36 hours to repair a transmission line that broke late Thursday. It all started last week when a fire hydrant was struck by a crew that was mowing the grass along the road near the transmission line at Henderson Mill and Evans Road.

Atlanta’s East Lake Neighborhood Model For Revitalization

Jul 27, 2015
East Lake Community after its turnaround into a model for community revitalization.
Courtesy of East Lake Foundation

Atlanta’s East Lake neighborhood is a thriving community these days. It’s home to the PGA’s annual Tour Championship at the East Lake Golf Club. It’s one of the city’s more historic and trendy, yet family-oriented communities with affordable housing, shops and restaurants. It’s located about 4 miles from downtown with access to mass transit.

But this wasn’t always the case. In fact, it wasn’t so long ago that East Lake, located in DeKalb County, was once referred to as an urban nightmare and nicknamed “Little Vietnam.”

zeevveez /

Residents of a metro Atlanta county are being told to boil their water as crews try to repair a broken water main.

DeKalb County officials said in a statement Saturday that crews are trying to repair the 48-inch water line and water pressure has been reduced three times within 36 hours — which could lead to water quality issues throughout the county.

DeKalb County

A new mobile farmers market will roll its way through DeKalb County.

Starting this week, a remodeled yellow bus that used to belong to the DeKalb Sheriff's Department will begin to make stops throughout the county. The goal of the market is to carry fresh and affordable produce to residents who live in food deserts – areas without grocery stores or farmers markets.

County spokeswoman Emily Schwarz says the county hopes the mobile farmers market improves the health of DeKalb residents.

Kent Johnson, Pool

  In front of a packed courtroom in DeKalb County Superior Court, suspended county CEO Burrell Ellis was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in prison on charges he tried to strong-arm county vendors for campaign money.

In sentencing Ellis, Superior Court Judge Courtney Johnson said she “struggled” with crafting a sentence because the trial was “unlike any case that I have handled since I took the bench.”

Kent D. Johnson, Pool


Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday in DeKalb County Superior Court, after a jury convicted Ellis on four criminal charges last week.

The jury of six men and six women unanimously found Ellis guilty of attempted extortion and three counts of perjury in his corruption retrial. He was on trial for strong-arming county vendors into donating to his 2012 re-election campaign. 

The trial was Ellis' second. The first ended in a mistrial, after the jury failed to reach a consensus on any of the charges brought against him.  

Tasnim Shamma / WABE

Starting Monday, DeKalb County will pick up residential garbage, recycling and yard trimmings only once a week. 

The county says getting rid of twice a week service will save up to $6 million a year and prevent the need for a rate hike for customers. 

South DeKalb resident Cheryl Cherry-Hill said her personal garbage bins fill up twice a week, but she's also unhappy about the change for other reasons.

Burrell Ellis testifies in his corruption retrial
Kent Johnson / Atlanta Journal-Constitution

State attorneys got their chance Monday to question suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis in his corruption retrial, with prosecutors trying routinely to catch Ellis in a lie.

But the suspended CEO remained composed and confident as he justified his actions to the jury and rebuffed District Attorney Robert James’ tough, rapid questioning. Ellis maintained his honesty throughout, only going so far to say he once may have “misspoken.”

Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis again took the stand Friday in county superior court to continue testimony in his corruption retrial.
Kent Johnson / Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis, who’s accused of strong-arming county vendors for political donations, took the stand in his corruption retrial once again Friday morning to continue telling his side of the story.

Almost sentence by sentence, Ellis’s attorney walked the suspended CEO through some of the secretly recorded conversations that make up the bulk of the state’s case against him. As he did in his first trial, Ellis stressed any issue he had with vendors was about responsiveness and respect for the CEO’s office, not about campaign donations.

Kent Johnson / Atlanta Journal-Constitution

  Just as he did in his first corruption trial, suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis today took the stand in his retrial to refute charges he strong-armed county vendors for campaign donations.

On the stand, Ellis began painting a very different picture of his interactions with four county vendors who testified against him earlier in the trial.

Fireworks light up the sky over the King and Queen Buildings in Sandy Springs, Georgia.
City of Sandy Springs

Residents in DeKalb County will decide on two cityhood measures this year.

If the votes pass, LaVista Hills and Tucker will become the latest new cities in metro Atlanta over the past decade.

There’s already been seven new cities voted into existence over the past 10 years. That includes the city of Sandy Springs.

The city, located just north of Atlanta, is now the sixth largest city in Georgia and home to the new headquarters of luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz USA.

Kent Johnson / Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Like a playground bully who says, “Bring me your lunch money, or else.”

That’s how one of the state’s witnesses described his dealings with suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis Thursday, the third day of testimony in the elected county head’s corruption retrial.

Greg Shealey and his wife, Trina Shealey, were called into a meeting with Ellis back in October 2012 about issues with their company’s responsiveness. The couple own National Property Institutes, which had a $1 million contract with DeKalb County to buy and fix foreclosed homes.