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Same ethics accusations again lobbed at Snellville mayor pro tem

SNELLVILLE -- Government watchdog George Anderson was back at a Snellville city council meeting Monday night, again announcing his ethics complaint against Mayor Pro Tem Tom Witts.

Witts, for a second time, stressed the fact that the back taxes focused on by Anderson are a non-issue.

In June, Anderson -- the Rome-based director of the Ethics in Government Group -- held a press conference lodging the ethics accusations against Witts for 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.

The councilman reiterated Monday that he's paying the money off and has done nothing wrong.

"Is the money owed? Absolutely," Witts said. "I had the choice of either closing my company and putting 13 people out of work, or assuming the debt personally and keeping my company open ... Believe me. I disclosed it."

Witts said he consulted attorneys at the time and was told the back taxes were not an issue. Snellville City Attorney Tony Powell expressed a similar sentiment last month, saying there did not appear "to be a valid ethics claims that the council could act on."

Anderson doesn't agree. He said Monday that he has filed a complaint with the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission.

"(Witts) still took the oath of office saying that he was not the owner of any uncollected state of Georgia funds," said Anderson, who denied characterizations of himself as a "hired gun."

During a meeting where most business items were tabled, multiple audience members defended Witts after Anderson addressed the council.

"Thank you Tom," resident Kurt Schulz said. "I would have six of you up there."

Former Snellville councilman Tod Warner said he had a similar tax issue when he was elected, and consulted three attorneys who told him he was in the clear. He offered the idea of the council actually voting on whether or not to enact an ethics complaint against Witts as a way of coming to a resolution on the issue.

"Maybe that would be the easiest thing to put this all to bed," Warner said. "Bring it up, vote it down, and be done with it."

Comments

george46 1 year, 11 months ago

Anderson IS a hired gun (aBB gun), Keep doing what you are doing Tom, they are scared to death that you are going to remain in office. Every good thing you do in our City makes the fakers look bad---and they don't like looking bad. Your making them work---and they are not used to that. Tom Witts will be the next Mayor of Snellville, and that scares the hell out of the wannabee's.

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Cleanupguy 1 year, 11 months ago

Well said. Everyone I've experienced Anderson, Newton, and McKinney trying to undermine with their trademark sleaze have been some of the finest public servants I've known. These moronic attacks should be considered a badge of honor.

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wrighton 1 year, 11 months ago

All these character references should give Witt some sense of comfort. Snellville Politicians can clear it all up with a vote or some by law to prevent this from happening in the future. You can become a politician and owe back taxes. It's very simple. Someone needs to create a reality show out of Gwinnett County politics.

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JHogan 1 year, 11 months ago

Let me say that even though my mailing address has Snellville GA on it, I do not live in Snellville. I actually live in unincorporated Gwinnett County. The local politics of Snellville are outside my realm.

But I have to say that if all that is necessary to hurl a malicious attack against another person is to have them designated as some sort of "representative" of some other "organization." then sling a bunch of mud at another person, and have that reported as a notable fact by the local newspaper, then we've gone around the bend as a society.

Almost nobody I know holds any of these extreme anti-government views. In fact, I'd say that at least 2 people out of 3 like their local governments. It's true that some people, mostly middle-aged men, get exercised over these political issues, but fortunately these people usually die of coronary issues first.

I wish I could say that I'm shocked that the GDP would publish such an attack piece, but I'm not shocked in the least.

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Cleanupguy 1 year, 11 months ago

Given that Anderson is a for-sale political thug along the lines of Joe Newton and Bill McKinney, this is no surprise at all.

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roaads1 1 year, 11 months ago

George Anderson is hired by political opponents to attack people with false charges just like this. He has "accused" 400ish in the same way. He brags about 50% of them being charged with something when in reality they get snagged with something for a few hundred dollars in accounting. Anderson has left hundreds of victims in his path by lying for money. Don't believe a word of it. Soon he will be brought to justice for the damage he has done to families and careers just for the love of money. Here's a link showing his emails back and forth with someone hiring his nonprofit to go after someone. But they were outbid and he turned on them for money too. It also mentions his indiscretions with some of his interns. Time is catching up to the Georgia version of Barney Frank. http://www.topix.com/forum/city/blairsville-ga/THELA5AN6O2KTKLMN

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roaads1 1 year, 11 months ago

Our courts are slammed and in need of more funding because of people like this. I can't wait to find out who hired him and go after them. Maybe if we prosecute Anderson and the person or people that hired him we wouldn't have to see him again. This man does all of this fraud under the "shelter" of a nonprofit licensed by the state of Georgia. But by Anderson's own admission he pilfers thousands of dollars out of it every month for his personal use. I would also think it's safe to assume that this same nonprofit pays his personal bills out of it too. So other than a few court filing fees he just uses it all for himself. And how is this a charity? Filing false charges on innocent people for political opponents providing they "donate" the proper amount to his charity. Really? This fraud, fake, sick, twisted freak needs to keep his greedy behind out of Gwinnett. Danny Porter's department is the one getting hit the hardest financially. I hope he decides to make an example of this clown. We need real transparency in government not hired bullies causing financial burdens on our court system. George Anderson's fraud, lies, and underhanded tactics need to be exposed by the very courts and law enforcement agencies he abuses. The lack of integrity and the whispers of sick philandering that follow this pseudo man should be enough to see him for the cartoon character that he is. Like prosecuting the john's that hire prostitutes we need to prosecute the people that hire this man and his "charity" for political gain.

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LoganvilleResident 1 year, 11 months ago

If he's on a government approved payment plan, what is the problem? I believe the oath of office is for people who are intentionally hiding or witholding money from the government.

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teelee 1 year, 11 months ago

Let him pay his debt back , none of us are immune to the IRS. Can't wait to deal with the IRS for healthcare issues.

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Cleanupguy 1 year, 11 months ago

Yes, Teepee, that's exactly what is happening:

"The councilman reiterated Monday that he's paying the money off and has done nothing wrong."

"Is the money owed? Absolutely," Witts said. "I had the choice of either closing my company and putting 13 people out of work, or assuming the debt personally and keeping my company open ... Believe me. I disclosed it."

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SnellvilleTod 1 year, 11 months ago

It was not just three attorneys, it was three City attorneys. Thomas Mitchell, Mike Williams and Tony Powell, all three confirmed that knowingly owing taxes is not a violation of Snellville’s oath of office. Last night Mr. Anderson asked why Snellville has not set up a citizen’s panel to look into his misguided accusations. Only a superior court judge or the city council can enact any punishment on an elected official and therefore forming an ethics board to “oversee” an ethics complaint is ridiculous. The final decision to investigate or punish rests with the elected officials. If they find no merit to someone’s allegations they have the right, no, the duty to elect not to pursue ANY investigation. The current Mayor has been a big proponent of having an elaborate process for looking into ethics allegations. Those processes would have great cost, both financially and in quelling political involvement that should not be borne by our citizens.

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wrighton 1 year, 11 months ago

I disagree with no action. Either city officials in Snellville state it is okay to owe back taxes while holding office and determining taxation for others. It's quite simple. Email your Snellville officials and let them know you do not mind if they owe back taxes while they spend your tax money.

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rocknroll 1 year, 11 months ago

This isn't the first time Mr. Estep has written an article with a misleading headline. I guess he is more concerned with getting people to read his articles than he is with integrity. There is nothing here but old news which is really no news. As others have pointed out Anderson is a fraud. I hope someone does the work to find out who is paying him.

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R 1 year, 11 months ago

Whats misleading about the headline? Someone stood up and repeated the charge...

"During a meeting where most business items were tabled, multiple audience members defended Witts after Anderson addressed the council."

Pretty much the night.

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Karl 1 year, 11 months ago

Probably don't have to look too hard to find who's paying Anderson. I'd start with the guy whose last name rhymes with flower, also rode'em, and stinkins.

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roaads1 1 year, 11 months ago

Karl, I believe you are on to something there.

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mustardandbiscuit 1 year, 11 months ago

Don't forget about Mr. Mauled, Karl. He's a player, too.

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Karl 1 year, 11 months ago

You got that right, mustardandbiscuit. This has Waldo's fingerprints on it along with the other three stooges.

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ssilover1 1 year, 11 months ago

Some things never change. Snellville will never be able to attract really good business since it's house is so rediculous.

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george46 1 year, 11 months ago

I disagree with you. Their are good things going on in Snailville in spite of the clowns that that are persecuting Tom Witts. Why do you think they don't want him around. The better he does the more obvious what the morons don't do. If Witts wasn't doing good, they wouldn't even notice him. It's all about the power to the George bb gun Anderson backers.

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wrighton 1 year, 11 months ago

I don't know the law in these instances and have read where there are many politicians who owe back taxes. Should someone who owes back taxes be able to vote on taxation? Regardless of the reason? There are very few I know who are not experiencing some type of financial tap dance. Gwinnett appears to be a political cess pool.

What I do not agree with is attacking the person who wrote this article. Attacking the messenger is another way to divert attention from the subject matter. Many of you appear to be in a certain political grouping that flock to any negative press on certain subject matter. This raises eyebrows. No different than those that think the former commissioner Lassiter deserved leniency.

Deal with the subject. Let a judge rule on it or bring it to a vote on the council. Let it set a precedent in the State of Ga or in the CIty of Snellville. You can owe back taxes and become a politician or you can't.

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JHogan 1 year, 11 months ago

The article stated that three--3--city attorneys testified that there was no violation of the rules at all, by someone paying their back taxes on an installment program, or at least as nearly as I can understand it. Whatever it is, the guy is trying to do the right thing, as far as I can see.

What are you trying to prove? The lawyers, all 3 of them, just answered your question.

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wrighton 1 year, 11 months ago

I assume you are asking me. Trying to prove? Nothing. Giving my opinion like you. Your statement is both emotional and erroneous.

The article did not state --3-- city attorney's testified to anything. Some former politician gave his experience with 3 attorneys.

The current City Attorney sentiment is that it does not have merit. Fine. Anderson is taking his claim to the another agency. Fine.

If there were not a loop hole somewhere this would not be an issue. I hope the State comes back and says there is not a loophole and nonissue. The message being sent is politicians can owe taxes and make taxation policy. It's happening all across our country. Big deal.

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roaads1 1 year, 11 months ago

Wrighton One of the points that comes out of George Anderson's false complaints is that the DA had to ask for more money last week because their office has to investigate frivolous politically motivated crap like this even though he knows there's nothing to them. We will either have to raise taxes or cut services to deal with people like Anderson because when he files these complaints they still have to go through the system. I have never me Mr Witts, do not know these people, do not live in Snellville but have followed this story since it started. I looked into Mr Anderson's history and was appalled by the hundreds of people and courts this man has damaged with complete lies. Then to discover he is hired by "donating" to his charity I became angry. Every good thing about our system of checks and balances have been abused by this man. This needs to be stopped, Mr Anderson needs to be held accountable, and the ones that hired him need to be brought to justice for what they have done in such a cowardly way.

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wrighton 1 year, 11 months ago

The point of the DA asking for money to investigate politicians should have begun years ago. The Feds are now involved and I'm curious is it because Gwinnett County alone could not get the job done. I understand your frustration with the messenger and at the same time find it moot. The State/County/City can adopt some bylaw to clear up some loop hole stating you can be a politician if you owe back taxes (hopefully one that states they are rectifying).

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roaads1 1 year, 11 months ago

Wrighton-I understand your position. My point is that the DA needs to investigate "real" corruption. These complaints brought by Anderson are not real corruption cases. They are brought by Anderson because someone paid him to attack Tom Witts. Everyone knows it's all for show but Georgia law requires the DA, and court system to handle these cases the same as legitimate ones. Of the hundreds of complaints brought by Anderson over the years no real corruption has been found. Only accounting errors and the like. He boasts that about half of them has been found guilty. His definition of guilty falls in two categories. First. Some accounting error. Look at the one he filed against Nathan Deal. The state spent over 100k finding that 3k in campaign funds were misspent. Ridiculous on it's face. This was a big win for Anderson. Who lost? We did. The next type of what Anderson considers a win is in a case like Kennerly. After an indictment was issued he showed up and filed a complaint about Kennerly. And that complaint now has to go through the system. Anderson wins again. Who lost? I'll leave that up to you. I do not want taxes raised or services cut to accommodate a hired gun that makes a living off the backs of innocent citizens. Not to mention the lives & careers left damaged by his claims. It's time to expose people like this and the people that hired them. I do not want to waste precious resources on these frivolous complaints. Other counties are closing schools and cutting services because of this kind of waste. Let's not join them.

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george46 1 year, 11 months ago

Here is a question for all of us. I got an e-mail from a friend to check out Mayor Kelly Kautz civil suits in Gwinnett County. OMG. She HAS BEEN SUED SO MANY TIMES SHE SHOULD CHANGE HER FIRST NAME TO SUE. So who is taking the high road here. A man who has made a difference in his community, publicly acknowledged his tax problem and is doing the right thing. Or a person who willfully spends money on credit cards with no intention of paying and then uses her law degree to not pay her bills, and has people chasing her for the money.
Oh the hippocracy of it all. grow up Snailville, figure this out and make the necessary corrections. Here's a clue, the good guy does good things the bad guys run scared and do nothing but ambush the good guy Where is the hired George bbgun Anderson on this. corruption.

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wrighton 1 year, 11 months ago

Looks like Snellville City no different than Gwinnett County. Need to bring in an outside FED agency to investigate all these characters and tentacles. What a mess including the groupies. The undying love and blind following of politicians amazes me. How Great Thou Art simply does not seem applicable to any politician. IMO.

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george46 1 year, 11 months ago

The problem in Snailville can be traced back to a handful of has been old men who can't reconcile the fact that they are no longer in power. They took a little girl, made her out to be a leader and found she was.....a little girl with the manners of an spoiled child. They have continually tried to ruin the reputation of Witts and his ally's on council because they don't play ball with them. And thank God for Snailville that they won't Things have been changing for the better in that town and the over the hill gang can't stand it. Their idea o progress would be taking the City back to 2008 when property values were dropping like a rock and Snailville was the laughing stock of the county. New blood on the council turned that around and now the "overt the Hill Gang" are doing everything they can to ruin the City's image once again. They live in the slop and want the city to be their own private sewer. These new blood council members will have none of it.

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kevin 1 year, 11 months ago

We should change the location of Snellville to a city in Illinois. What corruption in that city. Doesn't say much about the people that vote in that city, can you?

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ssilover1 1 year, 11 months ago

If Snellville continues like this I say standards for pulic servants are LOW. Voters, get real and think about this.

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