June 16, 2014 •
The ethics commission has agreed to settle three retaliation claims for over $1.8 million. The claims are each related to an investigation of Gov. Nathan Deal involving 2010 campaign and personal finance reports. Under the terms, the commission’s former deputy, […]
The ethics commission has agreed to settle three retaliation claims for over $1.8 million. The claims are each related to an investigation of Gov. Nathan Deal involving 2010 campaign and personal finance reports.
Under the terms, the commission’s former deputy, Sherry Streicker, will receive $1 million, former IT specialist John Hair will receive $410,000, and former staff attorney Elisabeth Murray-Obertein will receive $477,500. The settlements follow an April jury verdict awarding $700,000 plus fees to the commission’s former executive secretary, Stacey Kalberman, who argued her pay was slashed and her deputy’s position eliminated as they were preparing subpoenas in the Deal case.
Murray-Obertein, who arrived after the departures of Kalberman and Streicker, testified she was under pressure to get the Deal case resolved. Hair claimed LaBerge ordered him to alter, hide, and destroy documents related to the Deal investigation.
The commission has denied any wrongdoing and Deal has said he was not involved in any of the commission’s decisions or actions.
April 4, 2014 •
A jury verdict has ordered the state to pay Stacey Kalberman $700,000 for unfairly forcing her from office. The jury found the former director of the ethics commission was unfairly forced from office as retribution for investigating Gov. Nathan Deal’s […]
A jury verdict has ordered the state to pay Stacey Kalberman $700,000 for unfairly forcing her from office. The jury found the former director of the ethics commission was unfairly forced from office as retribution for investigating Gov. Nathan Deal’s 2010 campaign.
Kalberman sued her former employer, claiming the commission’s decisions to cut her salary by $35,000 and eliminate her top deputy’s position were in response to her desire to issue subpoenas for records in the investigation.
Attorneys for the commission argued the motivation for the cuts was concern for a budget crisis. Holly Laberge, who replaced Kalberman, testified she did not find a budget crisis when she took office.
December 14, 2011 •
A state investigation by the inspector general found no evidence to back up a claim that Governor Nathan Deal sought to fire the former head of the state ethics commission and her chief deputy because the agency was investigating Deal.
In June, Stacey Kalberman had raised questions about the timing of the commission’s plan to cut her salary and eliminate her chief deputy’s position. In the weeks before her resignation, Kalberman said the two prepared draft subpoenas for Deal and his aides to further their investigation.
The subpoenas were never executed because commissioners would not sign off. The commission did ask Deal’s campaign to voluntarily turn over records, but commissioners have refused to say whether that’s happened.
Some are concerned about how an inspector general appointed by the governor can fairly investigate the governor.
August 23, 2011 •
Considering Run for State Senate
Josh Belinfante, Vice Chairman of the State Ethics Commission, has announced he is resigning his position in order to consider a run for state senate. While he has yet to commit to running for the position, Belinfante has indicated an interest in the seat for senate district 6 following the release of the proposed maps for redistricting.
Belinfante’s resignation comes on the heels of the recent announcement by Chairman Patrick Millsaps that he will be stepping down from his position due to what he has determined to be his illegal appointment by Governor Nathan Deal.
The State Ethics Commission is also currently engaged in the process of finding a person to fill the role of Executive Secretary for the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission following the departure of Stacey Kalberman.
Kalberman’s departure and the termination of the Deputy Executive Secretary position, once held by Sherilyn Streicker, were the result of cost-cutting maneuvers implemented by members of the Commission this past June.