by: Jodie Fleischer Updated:
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Ousted DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis' told a civil grand jury in January 2013 that he did not get involved in the awarding of county contracts and that he tried not to solicit campaign contributions from vendors who had won or were bidding on contracts.
Channel 2 Action News has obtained a copy of the 260-page transcript, which provides a word-for-word account of Ellis' testimony before the special grand jury. It was given on the same morning investigators from the District Attorney's Office executed search warrants at Ellis' home and office, carrying out boxes of evidence for the criminal case.
In June, a criminal grand jury indicted Ellis on 15
We now know Ellis told the grand jury,
Prosecutors have accused Ellis of interfering with which county employees sat on certain selection committees who evaluate the vendor bids.
"I've never directed the purchasing director who to put on a committee because I think you hire good people who are trained in a subject matter area and you want them to exercise their best professional
Prosecutors also asked Ellis about his contact with vendors who had or wanted contracts with DeKalb County.
"There's no law that prohibits someone from going active... you know, after someone who's actively going after a contract," Ellis told the grand jurors.
Last year, Channel 2 investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer compared the list of DeKalb County vendors and bidders with Ellis' list of campaign contributors. She found roughly half a million dollars came from vendors who had or wanted county business.
Ellis has denied any wrongdoing.
His attorneys have filed numerous motions trying to keep Ellis' words from being used against him at trial, challenging use of his grand jury testimony, and the secret recordings made by DeKalb County Contracts and Purchasing Director Kelvin Walton, an unindicted co-conspirator in the case.
A hearing in the case is scheduled for Jan. 23