DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - The attorneys of the man at the heart of the corruption investigation into former DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis are speaking out.
Ellis is accused of shaking down county venders for campaign contribution. A grand jury did not indict Ellis' former campaign manager Kevin Ross, but his name appears throughout an affidavit asking for a search warrant and investigators did search his home and office.
Ross represented several companies trying to do business with DeKalb County. In the affidavit, investigators alleged Ross knew about secret bid selection meetings and used that information to his clients' advantage.
Ross' attorneys issued a statement Sunday saying their client did not have any knowledge of secret meetings or contact with any of the members:
- Mr. Ross did not learn the names of the individuals who were on the evaluation committee for the 2012 DeKalb County Consent Decree Program Management until after the search warrant affidavit was released.
- After learning of their names through the search warrant affidavit, Mr. Ross can state that he never had any contact with any of the members of the Consent Decree Program Management evaluation committee while they served in that role.
- While the search warrant affidavit asserts that DeKalb CEO Ellis placed two particular individuals on the evaluation committee in order to influence the selection of Montgomery Watson, the wiretaps of Ross’s phone calls during the relevant time period show no contact between Mr. Ross and those two individuals.
- Montgomery Watson, Mr. Ross’s former client, lost the competition for the 2012 Consent Decree Program Management contract and was not recommended for award of said contract by the evaluation committee.
- According to a defense motion filed on behalf of CEO Ellis, Joel Alvarado, an evaluation committee member cited in the search warrant affidavit as appointed to the committee by CEO Ellis, did not vote for Montgomery Watson. This fact rebuts the suggestion in the affidavit that CEO Ellis placed Alvarado on the committee for the purpose of awarding the contract to Montgomery Watson.
- Statements that Montgomery Watson won numerous “lucrative” contracts during CEO Ellis’s administration are inaccurate. During the four years of the Ellis administration that Kevin Ross represented Montgomery Watson in DeKalb County, the company competed in three procurements and won only one, a single, modest sized engineering contract in 2009. In two other larger procurements, Montgomery Watson was ranked at the top technically but was nonetheless not awarded the contract.