Author: John Ruch

Evangelist indicted in Boyer’s DeKalb corruption scheme

An evangelist is facing federal corruption charges for his role in the kickback scheme involving former DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer, according to an ajc.com report. Rooks Boynton allegedly accepted $85,000 in county funds for false “consulting” services in 2009 through 2011, then kicked back a large portion of the money to Elaine Boyer and her husband John. John Boyer pleaded guilty this year to arranging the kickback scheme and is awaiting sentencing, according to an FBI press release. Elaine Boyer pleaded guilty last year to corruption charges involving personal spending with a county-issued Visa card. She resigned and is currently in federal prison in Florida. Boynton, 73, was recently indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of federal program theft and conspiracy, according to ajc.com. Elaine Boyer’s scheme was just one of several corruption scandals plaguing DeKalb County. Investigators hired by CEO Lee May to dig into the county’s problems recently declared the government to be “rotten to the core,” sparking criticism from May and a dispute about when that final report will be...

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Mountain Way Common food truck event suspended

A weekly food truck event at the Mountain Way Common park, originally scheduled to repeat this evening, has been suspended due to lack of a city permit, according to the North Buckhead park’s friends group. “Unfortunately, we were recently notified by the city of Atlanta that we need to suspend our food truck Wednesdays at Mountain Way Common until we obtain a city permit,” reads a statement on the park’s Facebook page. “Atlanta Street Food Coalition, who is responsible for permitting the event, is working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible since the event is so popular. We will keep you posted on our progress and hope to bring back your Wednesday night dinner option very soon!” A city of Atlanta spokeswoman could not immediately confirm the permit issue. The Atlanta Street Food Coalition and the Friends of Mountain Way Common did not respond to questions. Mountain Way Common is a green space off Mountain Way, running along Little Nancy Creek, and accessed at 4134 N. Ivy Road. A groundbreaking to turn the area into a full-fledged park was held in April. The park has hosted food trucks on Wednesday nights since May, according to the friends group’s Twitter account. The event is called “Food Truckin’ Wednesday.” For more information, see Mountain Way Common on Facebook or @MountainWayComm on Twitter. The friends group’s website is...

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Traditional public housing meets its end

Traditional public housing is coming to end at the last two county-run properties in Sandy Springs. One is being rehabbed and converted to a public-private affordable housing partnership, while the other will be sold and demolished. The apartment towers at 144 Allen Road, which provide affordable housing to seniors and people with disabilities, is in the midst of a $10 million renovation by the Housing Authority of Fulton County in partnership with the Benoit Group and the Raymond James investment firm. Renamed Sterling Place, the 100-unit Allen Road building is changing from county-run public housing to voucher-based subsidized housing. And the nine-unit public housing complex at 151 W. Belle Isle Road is being sold to a shopping center developer for use as parking. That aging property is too expensive to maintain, said Teresa Davis at HAFC. The federal government is “really trying to get out of the business of public housing,” Davis said. Instead, it is encouraging voucher-based programs and other solutions. Rehab on the eight-story Allen Road complex’s east tower was completed earlier this year. Late last month, residents began moving out of the west tower for rehab there, targeted to finish next February. The residents are temporarily living at three private apartment complexes in Sandy Springs, with HAFC paying the difference in their rent, Davis...

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Bennett wins House District 80 state rep. election

Democrat Taylor Bennett defeated Republican J. Max Davis, the former Brookhaven mayor, in the Aug. 11 runoff election for the District 80 state representative seat. Bennett took 54.5 percent of the vote in the district that includes parts of Brookhaven, Chamblee, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs. He will replace Republican Mike Jacobs, who left the seat to become a judge. “It’s just like playing football,” Bennett, a former Georgia Tech quarterback, said in an interview shortly after his win. “Enjoy the victory, but tomorrow we’ve got to get back to work. There’s a lot of work to be done and a lot of problems to solve.” Davis, in an Election Night interview, had a different view of a race that involved some bitter partisan campaign flyers. Davis was repeatedly targeted over accusations that he engaged in sexual harassment while mayor and was involved in a cover-up. “Obviously, the politics of personal destruction played a big role in this race,” Davis said. “A lot of falsehoods and untruths were thrown my way.” However, Bennett and Davis spoke on Election Night, with each congratulating each other on the race. Bennett said that mirrors his approach to the office he will soon hold. “I want to [have] open ears to everyone in the district, regardless of political affiliation,” Bennett said. According to unofficial results from the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office, 4,977 votes...

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Brookhaven council delays tree ordinance changes

Brookhaven City Council on Aug. 11 delayed changing the city’s controversial tree-preservation ordinance after hearing questions from both tree advocates and a pro-development group. Councilman Joe Gebbia moved to defer any decision to the Aug. 25 council meeting, and the council unanimously agreed. He added that the council likely will seek even stronger restrictions than are proposed in the latest revision. The proposed changes to the year-old tree ordinance have not changed much since they were first presented to the council last month. A key provision is requiring developers to maintain 120 inches—in diameter—of trees per acre or 45 percent of the site’s tree-canopy cover. That’s a boost from 100 inches per acre. Gebbia said he thinks the “council’s will” is going to lean more toward 130 inches per acre and 50 percent of canopy coverage. One of several other changes is restricting homeowners to removing only three non-hazardous trees per year. Kathryn Kolb, director of EcoAddendum, a nonprofit that is consulting with local tree advocates, said the tree ordinance revision is a good effort. But, she added, it has “a lot of contradictions” and a “number of loopholes,” including a compensation system for tree removals whose various options are not necessarily equivalent. James Touchton of the Council for Quality Growth, an advocacy group for developers, also called for a deferral to further consider the...

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