Councilman Willis Failed to Disclose Donations, Has Numerous Liens, Faces New State Ethics Complaint

facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

 

(APN) ATLANTA — Atlanta City Councilman H. Lamar Willis (Post 3-at-large) faces a new complaint submitted to the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission (GGTCFC) regarding his failure to disclose at least four thousand dollars in campaign contributions in reports that he filed with the Commission; and has numerous recent outstanding liens against him, in addition to the liens that have previously been reported, Atlanta Progressive News has learned.


 

The complaint was filed by Sheena Harmon, a Midtown resident, on May 16, 2013, according to a copy obtained by Atlanta Progressive News.

 

“My name is Sheena Harmon.  I am a registered Georgia voter… Recently Atlanta City Councilman Henry Lamar Willis has been on television and in the newspaper because the State Bar of Georgia recommended he be disbarred.  Allegedly, Councilman Willis deposited thousands of dollars in settlement money meant for a minor child client in his personal bank account.  This recommendation is still pending before the Georgia Supreme Court,” Harmon wrote.

 

“I decided to do some research on Councilman Willis after learning of the State Bar of Georgia allegations,” Harmon wrote.

 

She continued that “after reviewing the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission website, it appears that Councilman Willis and the Committee to Elect H. Lamar Willis submitted false, inaccurate, incomplete disclosure reports for June 30, 2011, December 31, 2011, June 30, 2012 and December 31, 2012.”

 

“During these periods, the Committee to Elect H. Lamar Willis accepted at least $4,000 in campaign contributions and did not report them,” Harmon wrote.  

 

“The following campaign contributions to Committee to Elect H. Lamar Willis were reported to Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission,” Harmon wrote.

 

The complaint lists a 250 dollar donation from Hunton & Williams Georgia PAC dated March 21, 2011; a 500 dollar donation from McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP PAC dated April 20, 2011; a 250 dollar donation from McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP PAC dated June 24, 2011; a 2,500 dollar donation from Kasim Reed for Mayor, Inc., dated October 25, 2011; and a 500 dollar donation from Georgia Link PAC, dated August 15, 2012.

 

APN was able to confirm the donations are, in fact, listed on the GTGCFC website, under an Expenditures search, where Lamar Willis is listed as the recipient.

 

However, Willis did not disclose the donations in his recent reports.

 

In his June 30, 2011 report, Willis reported no donations, although he received at least two donations totalling 750 dollars during that period.  Willis reported a balance of $143,643.24.

 

In his January 15, 2012 report, Willis reports no donations, although he received at least two donations totalling 2,750 dollars during that period.  Willis reported a balance of zero dollars, despite the fact that he reported a balance of $143,643.24 only six months prior, and reported no expenditures.

 

In his late October 31, 2012 report, Willis reports no donations, although he received at least one donation in the amount of five hundred dollars during that period.  Here, Willis reported a balance of zero dollars.

 

In his January 08, 2013 report, Willis reports no donations and a balance of zero dollars.

 

In his most recent report, dated May 21, 2013, also filed late, Willis reports no donations and a balance of zero dollars.

 

In addition to the missing donations and the unaccounted for balance, there is another problem: the 2011 donation from Hunton & Williams Georgia PAC is listed as “Campaign Contribution to retire 2009 campaign debt,” despite the fact that the campaign never reports a debt.  The campaign reports either having a balance of over 143,643 dollars, or of having no funds, but not  of having a debt.

 

Holly Laberge, Executive Secretary for the GGTCFC, confirmed to APN that the Commission has received the complaint filed by Ms. Harmon and said it is currently under investigation.

 

Harmon did not immediately return a voicemail seeking comment.  

 

“Prior to the filing of the complaint by Ms. Harmon, we engaged the services of Stefan Passantino of the law firm of McKenna, Long & Aldridge to take over all filings on behalf of me and my election committee (this is a service they provide to many elected officials) to ensure that all filings are accurate and timely.  Given their capable representation, you should direct all further inquiry regarding this matter to his attention,” Willis wrote in an email reply to APN.

 

Passatino did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

 

Willis also owes 425 dollars in several fines to the GGTCFC for late filings dating back to 2009, according to the Commission’s website.  Numerous other fines have already been paid.

 

Willis has a long history of ethical violations, which have resulted in fines assessed by the Ethics Office of the City of Atlanta and Fulton County Superior Court, both in connection with an organization he ran that solicited donations but did not have 501(c)(3) nor federal tax exempt status.  

 

Former Secretary of State Karen Handel found at the time that Mr. Willis had transferred thousands of dollars from the foundation account into his personal and campaign accounts.  

 

In 2009, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper reported that Willis owed tens of thousands of dollars in liens.

 

“In 2008, the state Department of Revenue filed two liens against Willis, one for $42,335 in unpaid corporate taxes for the foundation, and one for $11,308 in personal taxes.  The state said the liens were for unpaid taxes for the years 2002 to 2006.  The corporate tax lien has not been paid, but the state garnished the councilman’s wages and his wife’s to satisfy the personal tax debt,” the AJC reported.

 

APN can confirm that the Georgia Department of Revenue filed a lien against Willis for 11,215 dollars and 01 cent, on February 11, 2008.  It was recorded as satisfied on July 08, 2009.

 

“On Aug. 28 [2009], the state filed a new lien against Willis, this time for sales taxes of $1,560.16.  The state is asserting Willis purchased a vehicle in 2005 and did not pay state sales tax,” the AJC reported.

 

APN can reveal that Willis has numerous additional outstanding liens, according to the website of the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority.

 

Willis has an unpaid lien dated November 10, 2010, from the City of Atlanta, for Solid Waste services for year 2010 in connection with a property at 2191 Fairburn Rd. SW, in the amount of 499 dollars and 89 cents, located in Book 1774, Page 720.

 

Willis has an unpaid lien dated December 21, 2010, from the City of Atlanta, for unpaid taxes for 2010, in connection with a property at 2191 Fairburn Rd. SW, in the amount of 512 dollars and 14 cents, located in Book 1836, Page 146.

 

Willis has an unpaid lien dated December 21, 2010, from the State of Georgia and Fulton County, for unpaid taxes for 2010, in connection with a property at 2191 Fairburn Rd. SW, in the amount of 166 dollars and 04 cents, located in Book 1886, Page 537.

 

Willis has an unpaid lien dated October 18, 2011, from the City of Atlanta, for Solid Waste services for year 2011 in connection with a property at 2191 Fairburn Rd. SW, in the amount of 499 dollars and 89 cents, located in Book 2146, Page 326.

 

Willis has an unpaid lien dated April 06, 2012, from US Department of Treasury Internal Revenue Service, for unpaid personal income taxes for tax year 2009, in the amount of 16,797 dollars and 39 cents, located in Book 2305, Page 75.

 

Willis has an unpaid lien dated May 07, 2012, from the City of Atlanta, for unpaid taxes for year 2011 in connection with a property at 2191 Fairburn Rd., SW, in the amount of 424 dollars and 47 cents, located in Book 2324, Page 414.

 

Willis has an unpaid lien dated May 07, 2012, from the State of Georgia and Fulton County, for unpaid taxes for 2011 in connection with a property at 2191 Fairburn Rd. SW, in the amount of 143 dollars and 44 cents, located in Book 2336, Page 624.

 

Willis has an unpaid lien dated May 18, 2012, from the US Department of Treasury Internal Revenue Service, for unpaid personal income taxes for tax year 2008, in the amount of 53,674 dollars and 64 cents, located in Book 2367, Page 190.

 

Willis has an unpaid lien dated August 13, 2012, from Hames Law, for a judgment in the amount of 15,000 dollars, located in Book 2409, Page 310.

 

Willis has an unpaid lien dated August 27, 2012, from Yellow Book USA/Mid-Atlantic, for a judgment against him, in the amount of 26,131 dollars and 29 cents, located in Book 2415, Page 351.

 

Willis has an unpaid lien dated December 13, 2012, from the City of Atlanta, for unpaid taxes for tax year 2012 in connection with a property at 2292 Camp Ground Road SW, in the amount of 275 dollars and 53 cents, located in Book 2531, Page 418.  The lien transferred to Investa Services on January 10, 2013.

 

Willis has an unpaid lien dated December 21, 2012, from the City of Atlanta, for unpaid taxes for tax year 2012 in connection with the property at 2292 Camp Ground Road SW, in the amount of 95 dollars and ten cents, located in Book 2576, Page 358.  The lien transferred to Investa Services on January 22, 2013.

 

As previously reported by APN, Willis also faces at least two State Bar of Georgia investigations.  

 

In one case, on January 07, 2013, Special Master Richard B. Russell, Jr., recommended disbarment for Willis, due to Mr. Willis’s apparent theft of funds intended for a client of his who was an injured minor child.

 

In another State Bar case filed by Angela Hammond, Hammond alleges that Willis took her case against the Credit Union of Atlanta, but then conspired with the Credit Union to sabotage her case.

 

Paula Fredericks, General Counsel for the State Bar, was away at a conference and did not immediately return a voicemail seeking comment.

 

Willis faces Andre Dickens and Shelitha Robertson in this year’s Municipal Elections.

 

“First, I believe in ethical, clean government, and that’s a major tenet of my campaign, as you can see on my website, www.andredickens.com.  We need a clean government, and that means clean people running the government,” Dickens said.

 

“I think he’s gonna have to explain his record to the public, to the voters, his personal and professional record, things that are called into question at this time.  There’s a lot of explaining that can be done, and I’m gonna let the voters decide,” Dickens said.

 

“A mistake is something that happens once, maybe twice, in a certain of time, due to some circumstances.  However, the long list that you

shows over multiple years, and htis is ongoing.  In each of those years, that is problematic beyond it being a one time mistake.  This is consistent and ongoing challenges that raise an eyebrow,” Dickens said.

 

Robertson declined to comment.

 

(END/2013)

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


9 + three =