DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - After nearly 10 years working in DeKalb County government, CEO Lee May's Chief of Staff and top adviser, Edmond Richardson, has announced his resignation.
He submitted a letter Friday offering no explanation.Richardson took medical leave on October 6th, just days after a Channel 2 Action News investigation exposed how he funneled nearly $25,000 to his friend, Jeremy "Jerry" Clark, for a youth services contract that was never awarded.
Clark submitted invoices anyway, and records show he got paid despite almost no work product.
Former DeKalb County District Attorney Bob Wilson called it fishy and said it could even amount to bid rigging.
"It's either a crime was committed, which is what it smells like, or someone has played loose and easy with the regulations," said Wilson after reviewing the documents for Channel 2.
CEO Lee May said he was disappointed but would not investigate Richardson's connection to Clark, who later pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges related to a zoning vote.
So Channel 2 continued digging based on additional tips regarding Richardson.
On October 5th we filed new requests for Richardson's pay stubs and time sheets surrounding 10 weeks of paid leave time he used while running for office in 2012.
Some of the records indicate he was never docked the time.
"A person in finance told me that this was going on," said Commissioner Kathie Gannon, who beat Richardson in that election.
"We knew that he wasn't working. We were told he was being paid but there was no indication he was using sick leave or vacation time or anything," recalls Gannon.
Richardson would have had to save up all of that time from his previous years of work with the county.
"I thought it was very unusual then. But we have no one in DeKalb County we can go to, because people who should be investigating these things do not, because they're all friends. So it's really unfortunate."
The day after Channel 2 requested the records under Georgia's Open Records Act, Richardson left on medical leave, citing stress-related chest pains.
He immediately requested estimates for his pension and retirement benefits at the time, which indicates he wasn't planning to return.
A county spokesman has since stated there are other records which contradict the ones provided to Channel 2, and county staffers believe Richardson's leave time was deducted properly.
Richardson was earning more than $130,000 a year at the time of his resignation, which takes effect January 3rd.
He did not return calls for comment.
When asked about Richardson's departure, Gannon replied, "He wasn't working for the people of DeKalb County, he was working for Lee May and for himself. And that is a problem."
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