Election board: Director hid probation violation on DUI

by: Tom Jones Updated:

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - The Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections says the now former elections director deceived the board to hide the fact he was in jail for a probation violation on a DUI charge.

The board accepted the resignation of Samuel Westmoreland at a specially called meeting Monday. If Westmoreland rescinds his resignation, the board voted to fire him immediately, reported Channel 2's Tom Jones.

Jones also found out a judge in Laurens County issued a bench warrant for Westmoreland after prosecutors said he failed to complete drug court there.

"I mean it was a shock," board chair Rod Edmond said when asked if the board had any idea that Westmoreland had so many legal issues outstanding.

Edmond said Westmoreland told the board about his past DUI convictions. He pled guilty to having prescription drugs in his system during a September 2009 traffic stop in Alpharetta. Westmoreland also pled guilty to DUI with prescription drugs after he caused a crash in Laurens County in 2008. Edmond said he had no idea a judge revoked Westmoreland's probation in July because he didn't complete DUI school and community service in the 2009 case.

"We had no idea that he was slated to go and be incarcerated on Sept. 14," Edmond said.

A judge ordered that Westmoreland serve a 10-day sentence in the Fulton County jail for violating his probation.

The board said it also didn't know a Laurens County judge issued a bench warrant Sept. 14 because prosecutors said Westmoreland never completed drug court there on the 2008 case.

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"We thought that the issues related to those DUIs were attended to," board member Stan Matarazzo said.

Edmond also said it is clear Westmoreland deceived the board when he hid the fact he was in jail on the probation revocation by concocting a story surrounding his absence.

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"There was some communications about him being with his mom and taking care of an ailing mom," Edmond stated.

Fulton County Commissioner Robb Pitts says he didn't support Westmoreland's hiring and didn't know about the DUI convictions.

"And how this could happen is of some concern and needs to be addressed going forward," Pitts said

Edmond said it was time for Westmoreland to go after learning about his deception concerning his legal issues.

"At some point you just have to cut bait," he said.

Westmoreland was supposed to get out of jail after serving a 10-day sentence on the probation revocation for the 2009 offense. But Laurens County has a hold on him and he won't be released until he goes before a judge there.

The Sheriff's Office wouldn't say when it would arrive to transport Westmoreland back to Laurens County.