DeKalb commissioner to repay money solicited for campaign

by: Erica Byfield Updated:

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DEKALB COUNTY, Ga - There is a controversy surrounding a website that taxpayers paid for and that a politician used to solicit donations.

Within days of Channel 2 Action News asking what was going on, longtime DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Watson made changes.

"Stan Watson has over 10 years political experience. So there is no excuse for this type of mistake. I doubt that it was a mistake," said Viola Davis. 

Davis is a member of the government watchdog group Restore DeKalb.

Watson's website is www.politicalstan.com.

If you scrolled through it earlier in the summer you might have noticed something on the right-hand side.

It read "Donate to the friends of Stan Watson" and just below that "Help support Super District 7's Commissioner Stan Watson's re-election. Your contributions are greatly appreciated."

After Channel 2 and the Atlanta Journal Constitution got their hands on invoices for the website and called the commissioner; someone removed the language.

Taxpayers paid a little more than $1,800 for the web page.

The consulting firm received a $960 check signed by interim CEO Lee May in March and another for $920 in April.

"Stan Watson has violated the public's trust," said Davis. 

By phone, Watson told Channel 2's Erica Byfield he would repay taxpayers.

Within recent months, Channel 2 Action News reported that Watson agreed to repay $5,000 worth of personal cellphone bills. The commissioner initially charged those to his county issued debit card.

"It's about public trust, accountability and transparency and we have none of those here in DeKalb County," said a concerned DeKalb County resident Joel Edwards.

"Sometimes you can't just pay things back. You need to just do what is right and resign," Davis declared.