ATLANTA — Channel 2 Action News has learned that an embattled Atlanta judge has failed to disclose her mother's work for the city in at least three sworn statements.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Richard Belcher broke the story that the State Judicial Qualifications Commission is investigating Municipal Judge Terrinee Gundy over her use of court funds to purchase expensive gifts, among other things.
Belcher was there in July as Gundy arrived on Thursday to meet the commission members. She said she didn’t know her mother was a city contractor.
Channel 2 Action News has obtained documents related to her mother's catering business showing it did work for the city.
We used the state open records law to get the invoices and summaries of catering services for which the judge's mother was paid almost $10,000 between 2011 and mid-2016.
Gundy became a judge in mid-2013, which means she should have disclosed her mother's business relationship with the city from then on.
But records show the judge answered no three times when asked whether any family members had done business with the city in 2013, '14 and '15.
Only once in four years did she disclose her mother's work. The judge signed those records on penalty of perjury.
“Look, the small print matters,” William Perry, with Georgia Ethics Watchdogs, told Belcher. “I'm particularly troubled by this case because she did it at one time but not other times so, at some point, she knew she needed to do it. And even if it had to be going back and correcting it, that could have been done, but now she's been caught.”
Gundy sent Belcher an email commenting on this story that reads: "It is important to note that Linda Alaydi is my mother, and she has been in the food service/catering business for a number of years. I have no involvement in her business or any of her business transactions.
"The financial disclosure statement requires that I make a disclosure “to the best of my knowledge [that] it is a true, accurate and complete statement of my current financial interests.” I was not employed by the City of Atlanta until July 2013, and thus was not required to file any personal financial disclosures before that time period. My only personal knowledge of my mother doing business with the City of Atlanta and receiving payment from the City of Atlanta was in 2016. Obviously, you are aware that I did disclose this fact for 2016. For any other year, I had no personal knowledge as to the source of any other payments made to my mother."
After out story aired on Thursday, Gundy sent Belcher another email, saying: "After I was made aware of the items discussed below today, I visited the City's Ethics Office and have updated my 2014, 2015, and 2016 personal financial disclosure filings to reflect work performed by my mother's business in 2013, 2014, and 2015. It is my understanding from the City's Ethics Office that I am now in full compliance."
This incident is just the latest in a string of issues involving the judge.
Channel 2 Action News and our investigative partners at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and AJC.com broke the story that Atlanta taxpayers paid nearly $56,000 for Gundy's attorney. The city terminated the deal after we reported it.
Among the matters the commission is investigating is her use of court money.
Her purchases included three elaborate glass sculptures from the Hans Frabel Studio in Atlanta that cost nearly $1,800 over three years, plus $695 spent late last year for a so-called Flame of Excellence.
An invoice suggests the Flame of Excellence was intended as a gift for former Mayor Kasim Reed, who appointed Gundy to her job.
Cox Media Group