East Point mayor found guilty of ethics violations

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EAST POINT, Ga. - An ethics hearing officer found the East Point mayor guilty of wrongdoing regarding a lawsuit she filed against her own city.

Mayor Earnestine Pittman was found guilty of seven ethics violations Monday. Channel 2’s Amy Napier Viteri spoke to one of the residents who brought the ethics complaints against her.

“I'm not doing this to punish anybody. I want good, solid city government going forward,” Stephen Zink told Viteri.

He said Pittman crossed the line when she tried to sue her own city last year, arguing collecting franchise fees was against city charter. Zink called the lawsuit a stunt since Pittman had no intention in moving forward with it, though it still cost taxpayers money.

The hearing officer agreed with the complaints, saying the suit created a personal and financial conflict of interest. He also said the mayor knowingly failed to recuse herself from council actions on the lawsuit.

Before a Monday night work session, Pittman addressed the findings in a statement saying, "I am disappointed, and I do not agree with the hearing officer's opinion and analysis. I strongly believe that I did the right thing and the city was not harmed by my actions."

Zink said the mayor needed to be held accountable.

“There was no remorse. It was her ‘ends justified the means’ and because she got what she wanted it didn't matter how she got there,” Zink said.

This finding comes on the heels of a lawsuit filed by two residents Friday requesting the mayor be removed from office. It will be up to a panel on the City Council to decide what action to take regarding the violations.