A former Gwinnett County planning commissioner who pleaded guilty in 2012 to federal bribery charges in connection to the scandal that brought down former county commissioner Shirley Lasseter has withdrawn his name from an appointment to the county’s Water and Sewage Authority.
Mark Gary had been nominated to a one-year term on the authority board on Jan. 5 by new county commissioner Kirkland Carden, with the commission unanimously approving the appointment. Although the appointment was to last until Dec. 31, Gary quickly turned around and ended his stint after less than one week, a spokesman for Carden confirmed.
“Last week, Mr. Gary voluntarily asked to withdraw his nomination from the Water and Sewage Authority and he will not be serving,” Matt Blakely said. “Commissioner Carden nominated Mr. Gary because of his expertise in development and believed that expertise would be useful for the county during this period of transition.”
Gary’s appointment evoked memories of a time when the county commission was mired in scandals that brought down several of its members and lead to criminal prosecutions against some of them.
Gary, in particular, was tied up in a scandal surrounding Lasseter and her son, John Fanning. The developer pleaded guilty in 2012 to paying $30,000 in casino chips to Fanning in exchange for Lasseter voting in favor of approval for a controversial $4 million solid waste transfer station proposed in the Dacula area.
Gary had a personal ownership interest in the proposed station, and accused Lasseter during a federal court hearing of telling him he had to pay her $30,000 to secure her support of the project.
The former planning commissioner was sentenced in August 2013 to two years in prison and three years of supervised release.
“Commissioner Carden was aware of Mr. Gary’s past when he nominated him,” Blakely said. “However, as a Christian and proponent of restorative justice, Commissioner Carden believes that Mr. Gary has grown as a person. We wish Mr. Gary and his family the best moving forward.”