Dunwoody: Councilwoman Bonser responds to allegations made by investigator
Councilwoman Adrian Bonser on Thursday, May 24, blasted a report that alleges she leaked information from a closed meeting of the Dunwoody City Council.
She said the report unfairly targeted her, relying on misinformation. She called the report a waste of taxpayer money.
“All of us on the Council are grown ups, each with different life experiences and skills. We should have been able to talk to one another and work this out without drama and $50,000 expense,” Bonser said. “The investigation was needless and, used as a tool to try to discredit and defame my character. This investigation was no more than a nicely typed, biased regurgitation of essentially he said/she said ad hominem attacks.”
The report concerns private discussions about the sale of the PVC Farm property related to the “Project Renaissance” development. The report alleges City Attorney Brian Anderson and Bonser leaked information to the public. Anderson has been suspended with pay and the council could vote to fire him this Tuesday.
Anderson has also denied the allegations.
City Manager Warren Hutmacher says the current bill for the investigation is $25,186, but additional bills are on the way.
Here is the full text of Bonser’s statement:
MEDIA STATEMENT OF DUNWOODY COUNCILWOMAN DR. ADRIAN BONSER
ON THE INVESTIGATIVE REPORT OF BOB WILSON
May 24, 2012
I am writing this statement as my initial response to the “investigative” report commissioned by the City of Dunwoody and the events that led up to it.
I fundamentally disagree with the findings and believe the integrity of the investigation itself is highly questionable and, the expenditure of an estimated $50,000 of Dunwoody taxpayer monies on said report wasteful.
1. As to the report itself, I am troubled by the lack of transcripts, recordings and other source material so the Council and people of Dunwoody can make judgments based on actual evidence, rather than a subjective interpretation of selected “evidence”.
2. As noted in media sources, this investigation was sloppy at best and politically motivated at worst. A demonstration of that is on Page 13 of the report which states “there was nothing acrimonious or hostile about the meetings.” Yet later Mr. Wilson attempts to describe me as “angry” and “unhappy”. He can’t have it both ways.
3. As to polygraph tests, the investigators seemed to hone in on the City Attorney Brian Anderson and myself from the outset. We were the only two asked to submit to a polygraph examination. If this investigation were a search for truth, at least 10 people in the room should have been asked to submit to a polygraph test. I initially agreed to take the test, but Investigator Wilson himself suggested my health issues may make me a poor candidate for such testing (he implies I avoided the test in his report, which is untrue).
4. In the report, it states that I “admitted” only after being confronted, about discussing the meeting with fellow Councilman Nall. First, I had forgotten that Mr. Nall had called me until, Mr. Wilson reminded me of it. At the time Terry called, I was busy packing for a three week trip overseas early the next morning. Secondly, the implication in how this “evidence” is presented is that I broke Executive Session rules. That is not possible as Councilman Nall was in the meeting as well, and people in attendance at the meeting can obviously discuss it after the fact. So through innuendo, the report is impugning my integrity.
5. Fundamentally, under O.C.G.A. §§ 50-14-3 paragraph 4, discussions of the sale of a property are not eligible for the exclusion from open meetings. The report simply ignores the law on this point. The City of Dunwoody had the second piece of land involved in these discussions under contract. This fact had not only been made public, it had been advertised by the City during what eventually became a failed Parks Bond Referendum.
6. The e-mail I sent in response to two constituents’ questions is cited as another example the investigators believe I broke executive session. In the report, the date of the e-mail is omitted. I was responding to questions based on information that by that time (8 days later) were in the media and public domain.
7. The only “direct” implication that I broke executive session procedures is an “anonymous source” of DeKalb County employee Bob Lundsten. This gentleman has a history of opposition to myself and some positions I have taken on Council. An even-handed investigator would know this and discount such uncorroborated testimony. Further, the information he released on his blog from this “source” was, in most facets, incorrect. Another point not noted in the report.
8. According to the report, Nall and Lundsten spoke to each other about the executive session meeting. One would think such an admission from Mr. Nall would make his discussions suspect as well. However, the investigator delved no further.
9. The investigator makes reference to several interviews with me where my recollections “evolved”. We had two interviews. The first being one hour and the second being an hour and a half. In each, Mr. Wilson never asked the same questions, so there was no avenue for my story to evolve.
10. Finally, the outlines and characterizations of the meetings were taken from interviews. Mr. Wilson’s subjective judgment was used to essentially supplant the meeting minutes, which exist and, were seemingly ignored by the investigator, as they are never referenced in the report.
Given these facts, I believe it is obvious that the investigators did not approach this as a search for truth. Mr. Wilson and his associate had a specific agenda and set of targets. The language throughout the report illustrates this. They state as a “fact” that I was “not truthful” in my responses, with no evidence to support it. The only support of their contention is their opinion.
In a broader sense, I am concerned that the executive sessions and the issues surrounding the “PVC Farm” have taken us to this point. As we began our city in 2008, we managed to avoid “politics” and focused on getting things done and making Dunwoody an even better place to live. As we have moved forward, many in Dunwoody are watching what we are doing and, are becoming disenchanted with how we are conducting City business. All of us on the Council are grown ups, each with different life experiences and skills. We should have been able to talk to one another and work this out without drama and $50,000 expense. The investigation was needless and, used as a tool to try to discredit and defame my character. This investigation was no more than a nicely typed, biased regurgitation of essentially he said/she said ad hominem attacks.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many Dunwoody residents who have taken their time to call, write and email their support. It is truly heartening to know, that even under such circumstances, there are so many of you out there who support my efforts on the Council to continue to make Dunwoody an even better place for our people, businesses and families. I look forward to this unnecessary chapter in our city’s short life being put behind us and, the Mayor and Council working together to do the people’s business.