• Former worker files lawsuit against DeKalb County sheriff

    By: Erica Byfield

    Updated:

    DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A lawsuit alleges DeKalb County's Sheriff made employees work on his campaign on county time.

    Darling Thompson worked for the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office for nearly four years.

    She told Channel 2's Erica Byfield that is also about the same amount of time she worked on campaign issues while at work.

    Jeffery Mann is DeKalb County's sheriff. He assumed the role in February when Thomas Brown stepped down to run for Congress.

    Thompson's suit says Mann and another employee, Xernia Fortson, required her and others to work on his primary election campaign.

    "They did not assign separate laptops or anything for us to work on so we worked on county equipment, county computer," Thompson said.

    She added she did not receive any extra pay, but she was instructed to use two different email accounts. 

    As proof, Thompson gave Byfield what she called a campaign-related email from October 2013. The email was a letter thanking a donor for a $1,000 donation to Mann's campaign, sent from Thompson’s work email to personal email.

    Fortson, the other defendant in the civil suit, was Thompson’s direct supervisor.

    Thompson alleges along with campaign items, Fortson made her clean her house and grocery shop.

    Byfield asked to speak to Mann and Fortson. A county spokesperson said neither had seen the lawsuit.

    Late Friday, Mann released an email he sent in March. In part it read working on campaigns at work is prohibited.

    Thompson told Byfield Mann fired her in March.

    "I believe that they felt that when I mentioned that we shouldn't be doing this, they felt the need to find a way to release me," Thompson said.

    Mann is currently in a runoff election for sheriff. Byfield asked Thompson if her suit has anything to do with that and she responded, "Absolutely not."

    Byfield found out Mann and Fortson are also facing another complaint. Both are named in an ethics complaint filed on June 24.

    Former employee Rhonda Taylor alleges abuse and claims she had to work on Mann's campaign.

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