The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I’m not judge or jury, just the messenger.  The message of the day, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis was indicted in 2013 by a grand jury on 15 counts that accused him of trying to pressure county contractors for campaign contributions. Ellis’ indictment claims that all the dirty work was done “at the offices of R.L. Brown”.
R.L. Brown and Associates is an architectural firm that contracts to school districts. Robert L. Brown was appointed liaison to the Governor for the appointment of the new DeKalb board members. Prior to selecting the new DeKalb Board, R.L. Brown was a board member at Grady where his architectural firm received millions of dollars in contracts for a major expansion of Grady Hospital.
Mark Niesse is reporting in the AJC today,

“COLUMBIA, S.C. — Defendants in a corruption trial told the head of a construction company he’d have to pay off DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Watson if he wanted to do business in the county, according to testimony Wednesday in South Carolina federal court.”

A few years back, this email was revealed in a DeKalb Schools open records request for Friends of DeKalb emails,

“Sent: Mon, October 3, 2011 11:22:23 AM
From: Amy Power
To: Barbara Colman (, Marshall Orson, Thad Mayfield Jim McMahan
Subject: TC w/ CEO of Winter Construction
Barbara, Bob, and Marshall,
I just had a call from Brent Ried, CEO of Winter Construction. Before Winter could even consider contributing to the SPLOST campaign, Brent wanted to know how the school system would avoid the impropriety that occurred in the past. He said that Winter, in particular, suffered a great deal when — although it scored highest for Arabia Mountain — other processes (to put it politely) affected the contract award.

He then explained that Winter wanted to support SPLOST and would make a small contribution of $500. On a related note, I saw this Stone Mountain/Redan Patch article that portrayed the audience at Stan Watson’s breakfast as unsupportive of SPLOST in the absence, at a minimum, of better control and oversight.”

The word of the day, “Discouraged”.

3 responses to “The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  1. Wait a minute. R.L. Brown was one of the chairs of the committee appointed by the Governor to hire the ‘new’ DeKalb school board after the Gov fired 6 of the 9. (Brad Bryant was another – and Brad ultimately landed a six-figure salaried job at the state!) Also interesting on that note, the board member chosen to replace Nancy Jester, is married to a woman who works directly for the Governor. (At the same agency where Brad Bryant was hired!)
    Stan, thanks for all you do. We are sorry to see that you are discouraged. We have been discouraged for quite some time now. A break up is in order. City schools and charter clusters are the only answer. Diluting the power is the only way to push out the corruption.
    Read our post on this tangled web.
    “Oh the connections, they are more tangled than ever”

  2. You know there were several people who pointed these things out a couple of years ago to no avail. Why are all these people copied on this email? Is it not interesting that two of them are now on the school board. Orson and Amy Power have always been in the center of the process for SPLOST. All this was done for Fernbank. I believe I read some blog from McChesney that pointed this out some time ago. I bet the members of the school board did not have as much information about the construction program as Orson, Power, and McMahan had. HMMM. RL Brown must be a fine upstanding individual.

  3. Stan Jester

    It’s paying homage to #ThrowBackThursday. Perhaps every Thursday I can bring back issues of yore that were swept under the carpet.