After an investigation lasting more than nine months and costing taxpayers nearly $50,000, a Dunwoody City councilwoman has admitted to leaking information from executive city council sessions.
In a Nov. 30 letter, Councilwoman Adrian Bonser admitted to leaking information from an executive session but said that at the time she was unaware that she was doing anything wrong.
“I apologize to the mayor and council and to the [residents] of Dunwoody for my indiscretion as a member of the city council,” Bonser said in the letter. “I made a mistake and I sincerely regret my actions.”
An investigation released May 21 conducted by attorney Bob Wilson stated that former Dunwoody City Attorney Brian Anderson and Bonser were responsible for leaks from a February executive session about a land transaction.
The report also said Bonser leaked information to a source who gave blogger Bob Lundsten details regarding the executive session. When Bonser was interviewed by investigators, the report states, she “was not truthful in her responses.”
As a result of the investigation Anderson settled with the city and was awarded a severance package of two months’ salary and benefits totaling approximately $29,000.
After the details of the report were released, Bonser claimed she never leaked any information and called the findings, “sloppy at best and politically motivated at worst.”
Several months later Bonser filed an ethics complaint of her own alleging Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis and the rest of the city council held several illegal executive session meetings.
In her complaint, Bonser also named Dunwoody City Manager Warren Hutmacher and accused Davis of asking her to resign before the ethics investigation was complete.
As part of a settlement between Bonser, Davis and the rest of the city council, she has agreed to drop her complaint against the mayor.
“I am doing this in good faith as I am not demanding a statement of apology from him,” Bonser said.
Davis said it is unfortunate that the ethics issues turned into such a drawn-out process.
“As soon as the investigation began and the public became aware of the leaks, the message was received and leaks stopped,” Davis said. “After nine months of public discussions, discovery and exploration I am happy to say the matter is concluded.”
Davis said that although the process to stop the leaks was difficult he thinks the city is stronger because of it.
“I thank the [residents] and leaders of Dunwoody for their encouragement, patience and support throughout this process. This has been an expensive lesson for us to learn as a city,” Davis said.
The city will conduct a review of its ethics policies as part of the dismissal terms signed by Bonser, Davis and the five other council members. Additionally, Davis and all members of the city council have agreed to undergo training on the Georgia Open Meetings Act.