Thursday, May 31, 2012
© Copyright 2015
Gwinnett Daily Post
LAWRENCEVILLE -- Federal authorities said Thursday that Shirley Lasseter's bribery discussions included the proposed privatization of the Gwinnett County Airport.
Lasseter, a former Gwinnett County Commissioner, pleaded guilty on Thursday in federal district court to accepting bribes in exchange for her support for a proposed real estate development in District 1, which she represented, which includes the Duluth and Suwanee area. She resigned from her commission seat on Thursday.
In a news release from the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, Lasseter and her son, John Fanning, "sought to enlist the (undercover) agent's help as a 'bag man' in leveraging Lasseter's official position to enrich themselves personally from the proposed privatization of the Gwinnett County Airport."
Commission chairwoman Charlotte Nash said in an e-mail to the Daily Post that she was "disapointed and shocked" by the situation. Nash said she ran for her position because "she knew the county had been harmed by actions in earlier years that had given the public good reason to distrust commissioners."
"We have been working hard over the last 15 months or so to address those concerns," Nash wrote. "Now, just as I felt we had made some progress and had begun to point the County in the right direction, we are faced with this serious setback. I am just sick for all of Gwinnett County."
Gwinnett County spokesman Joe Sorenson said he did not know the specifics of the situation before Thursday's arraignment.
"This is something that we're going to have to figure out over the next couple of days," Sorenson said.
Lasseter's term doesn't expire until Dec. 31. Laurie McClain, a Suwanee accountant, and Jace Brooks, a former Suwanee Councilman, both Repulicans, have qualified to run for the seat.
Last week, a crowd of hundreds pushed commissioners to make a decision about the airport before the July 31 primary.
Tuesday's Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners meeting could be when a vote is taken on a proposal to expand the Gwinnett County Airport. An agenda for the meeting will be released today.