DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis maintained his innocence nearly a week after he was indicted on 14 felonies involving campaign fraud.
“I have done nothing wrong as I have clearly stated to anybody and everybody,” Ellis said during a June 24 media conference.
“I will continue to serve in the manner in which I have served,” said Ellis, who was surrounded by his wife and his legal team. “I am committed to serving the citizens of this county. I was called and elected to do this job and I have every intention of continuing to work hard each and every day on behalf of the good citizens of DeKalb County.”
The indictment against Ellis includes four counts of criminal attempt to commit theft by extortion; three counts of theft by taking; two counts of criminal attempt to commit false statements and writings; three counts of coercion of other employees to give anything of value for political purposes; two counts of conspiracy in restraint of free and open competition; and conspiracy to defraud a political subdivision.
Lead attorney Craig Gillen told reporters that “there are no allegations whatsoever that Mr. Ellis took a single dollar or a single dime personally that was in any way wrong or even alleged to be wrong.”
Gillen said this case will show that there were vendors who were solicited for campaign contributions and did not give but received county business.
“And then you’re going to see situations where vendors were called and they chose not to give and they got county business,” Gillen said. “Some gave and didn’t get business, some didn’t give and got business.”
“There is nothing wrong with an elected official…seeking and accepting campaign contributions from individuals who do business with the county,” Gillen said.
Elected officials at every level seek and obtain campaign contributions from people who conduct business with the entities the officials represent, Gillen said.
See related story: DeKalb CEO indicted on 15 counts
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