• Documents show investigators used Ellis' own words against him


    DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Channel 2 Action News has been digging deeper into sealed documents we discovered this week in suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrel Ellis' corruption case.

    Channel 2 Action News first told you about Wednesday about how the suspended CEO's own words got him in trouble.
    Channel 2’s Richard Elliot spent the day Thursday zeroing in on others connected to him and the case, including Kevin Ross, Ellis' campaign manager and close advisor.
    So far, Ross has not been charged, but when you read the affidavit asking a judge for a search warrant, you can see he's at the heart of the investigation.
    Elliot went to Ross’ southwest Atlanta home Thursday to try and ask him question about what was said in the affidavit.
    Elliot saw a woman come out of the home but refused to talk as she drove away. Elliot went ahead and knocked on the front door anyway, but no one answered.
    Ross is not charged with any crime, but investigators did search his home and office along with Ellis' last year.
    His name is mentioned over and over again in an affidavit asking a judge for a search warrant.
    Ellis is accused of shaking down county vendors for campaign contributions, and manipulating contracts.
    Ross was a consultant for some vendors and, investigators say, used his close access to Ellis and others to help his clients win contracts.
    Ross represented vendors like Montgomery Watson and Rural Metro Ambulance, which won some of DeKalb’s biggest contracts, including the huge Watershed Management project.
    The affidavit also states Ross knew details of secret contract selection committee meetings, including the bids themselves and how the committee ranked them and, said investigators, used that information to his clients' advantage.
    “The proceedings for the selection committee are not supposed to be known outside of the committee.  The statements made by Mr. Ross reveal Mr. Ross had a great deal of specificity about the scoring of the selection committee,” the affidavit said.
    Elliot went to Ross' Buckhead office to try and ask him about the affidavit. He rang the doorbell over and over again, but again, no one answered the door.
    Late Thursday afternoon, Elliot spoke with Ross' attorney, but he said, for now, they have no comment.

    Kelvin Walton was another key figure named in the affidavit against Ellis.
    Walton is the county's contracts and purchasing director.
    Channel 2 investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer asked interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May why Walton is still on the job even though he's named a co-conspirator in the case against the suspended CEO.
    Ellis' defense team has tried to get much of the case dismissed by calling Walton a liar.
    He failed three polygraph tests before prosecutors convinced him to become their confidential informant.
    From the latest filing, we now know the specific questions he failed relate to funneling contracts and accepting bribes, so Fleischer asked his boss about that.
    "How big a problem is it for you to hear that your contracts and purchasing director may have accepted bribes?” Fleischer asked May.
    “Well, any accusation is problematic," May said.
    But these are now more than just vague accusations against Walton. Court records show he failed repeated polygraphs, including the following questions:
    “Have you ever accepted a bribe from anyone for any reason?”
    “Have you ever solicited any money from a vendor of DeKalb County?”
    “Have you ever received anything of value to award a contract to a vendor?”
    "I was made aware of the documentation by WSB. I just received it in my hands today. We'll be reading through it and we remain concerned about any names that are a part of what has been going on legally, and we'll take very decisive action in the future," May told Fleischer.
    "He's in charge of all the county's contracts and therefore pretty much all the county's money," said former district attorney Bob Wilson.
    Wilson now represents one of the vendors who says Walton shook him down for a bribe.
    “Are you a little surprised that Kelvin Walton still has his job?” Fleischer asked Wilson
    “Surprised? Shocked,” Wilson said. "I would think there should be serious concern about maintaining him in that position."
    May said he's been waiting on more facts, and these latest details could provide those. 
    In the meantime, Walton still has his $153,000 salary, even though he's an unindicted co-conspirator in a corruption case.
    "We want to make sure we preserve the public trust in DeKalb County and they remain confident that we are doing the right thing," May said.

    May could not say how long it would take to come to a decision about Walton's future with the county, or any other employees whose activities are cited in the case file.
    But he vowed to read the whole thing and get back to us with what he plans to do.

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