Snellville to seek judge's opinion on ethics allegations

SNELLVILLE -- A Gwinnett County Superior Court judge will be asked to interpret the city of Snellville's ethics ordinance and issue a declaratory judgement as relates to issues facing Mayor Pro Tem Tom Witts.

In June. Ethics in Governement Group director George Anderson held a press conference lodging ethics accusations against Witts, who has admitted he did not disclose the $28,000 he owed the state in back taxes when he was sworn in as a Snellville city councilman in 2009. Witts has said the money was from a 401K disbursement taken after his wife got laid off in 2007.

Despite Anderson's complaints, the actions may not be an actual violation of Snellville ordinances.

"There does not appear to be a valid ethics claim that the council could act on," City Attorney Tony Powell said during Monday's city council meeting.

Nevertheless, Powell recommended permission to ask for a declaratory judgement from a superior court judge, which the council approved with a 4-2 vote. The judgement basically tells the city of Snellville how to proceed should a formal ethics complaint be filed by Anderson.

Mayor Kelly Kautz and Councilman Mike Sabbagh were the two dissenting votes.

"I don't believe it is a superior court judge's place at this point in time to tell us if we need to do something or not," Kautz said, also expressing concern about using taxpayer dollars for Powell to represent Witts in legal proceedings. "This council first needs to review it and decide if there's anything for us to do."

Councilman Bobby Howard did the speaking for the "yes" voters.

"We depend on our city attorney to give us good advice on when we should or shouldn't do certain things," Howard said. "...To me we have to trust and believe in what he's decided."

Anderson, who was listed for public comment at Monday's meeting, was not present when his time came to speak.


Karl 2 years, 11 months ago

Kautz is concerned about spending tax dollars for attorney fees?!?! What a laugher! She's the one who wasted 35000+ tax dollars on her lawyer friend Stuart Oberman as payback for the Democrat party getting her worthless self elected as mayor.


roaads1 2 years, 11 months ago

Anderson is hired by political rivals to attack people. He personally doesn't appear to have any ethics. http://snellville.patch.com/articles/resolution-passes-to-take-legal-action-against-george-anderson


rocknroll 2 years, 11 months ago

Once again, Mr. Estep is reporting false information. Witts did disclose the facts about his 401K loan. Anderson's complaints are the same bogus claims that someone else brought up. Wanna know why Kautz and her puppet voted against doing anything? Because she doesn't want stuff to come out about who is paying Anderson. Watch and see what happens.


kevin 2 years, 11 months ago

No one should be even allowed to run for an office if they owe taxes to the State or County. This is a very simple thing to stop. You take them out of their position. Even if there is no ethics "law" violation here, there certainly is an ethic problem between this crook and the citizens who vote. WE don't like hiding this sort of thing. He knew this all along. He knows he might have lost the election if this were known ahead of time. how can someone trust this cheat any longer? Snellville seems to be riddled with crooks, almost like Chicago politics.


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