• State ethics director put on paid leave over porn, misconduct allegations

    By: Richard Belcher

    Updated:

    ATLANTA - The agency that's supposed to make sure state leaders follow ethical guidelines has ordered an investigation into its own top executive and put him on leave. 

    The Georgia State Ethics Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to put Executive Director Stefan Ritter on paid leave after allegations that he had pornography on his work computer

    Sources tell Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Richard Belcher that at least one, and maybe two, detailed complaint letters were filed by co-workers regarding pornography on Ritter’s state computer, and other complaints.

    In addition to the pornography, there were complaints about his job performance, including irregular work hours.

    The complaints are detailed in letters provided to the commission in mid-December, sources told Belcher. 

    Belcher was at the meeting Tuesday morning where Ritter was present. After an hour behind closed doors in a private meeting, the commission's chair announced their next move. 

    Belcher talked to Chairman Jake Evans after the ruling. Evans would not confirm the letters with the allegations, but did say they are going to verify the veracity of the claims. 

    "(The claims) are serious enough to warrant an independent investigation," Evans said. 


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    Ritter said he isn't aware of any letters and said stories to that effect are "incorrect."

    "I'm not going to comment on the record about what's going on," Ritter said. "I haven't seen any allegations, so it's puzzling to me."

    Ritter gave no indication that he is planning to resign

    Belcher asked Evans how soon the community wants answers. Evans said as soon as possible. 

    The commission authorized Evans to select a law firm to conduct the investigation and oversee it. 

    Ritter took over as executive secretary for the Georgia State Ethics Commission in early 2015.

    According to a state website, he earns more than $181,000 per year. He will continue to draw his salary during the investigation. 

    Ritter spent 18 years at the state attorney general office before leading the state ethics commission. 

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