DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A former DeKalb County zoning official has pleaded guilty to taking a bribe from a business owner in exchange for his vote.
It's a vote Channel 2 Action News first questioned Jerry Clark about back in 2012 after our investigation into nightclubs that appeared to be operating illegally throughout the county.
The story began with a tip investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer received in early 2012, alleging several club owners were bribing public officials. At the time, she could not prove it, but she did expose some questionable decisions allowing those nightclubs to operate.
Jerry Clark served on the DeKalb County Zoning Board of Appeals in Nov. 2012. He and others voted to grandfather in Lulu's Entertainment which was operating a restaurant and billiard hall as a nightclub on Chamblee Tucker Road.
Records show a year before the vote, in Nov. 2011, the business filed county paperwork saying, no, it was not a nightclub at that time.
Following the zoning board meeting, Channel 2 asked Jerry Clark why he voted to approve it anyway.
"My job, and our job, is to protect the integrity of the zoning board of appeals for the county. So with that being said, there are certain ordinances that are in place that made it make sense," Clark replied.
In federal court Thursday, Clark admitted he accepted $3,500 in bribes in exchange for his vote to approve that nightclub.
Prosecutors say $2,000 was paid in cash and an additional $1,500 was supplied to a non-profit charity on Clark's behalf. As part of his plea, Clark must repay the money as a federal fine.
Prosecutors have not yet disclosed who paid the bribes.
Clark's attorney says he's sorry for what he did and is cooperating with authorities in their investigation.
Clark will be sentenced April 30.