Judge Glanville Sanctions Attorney General Olens; LaBerge over Withheld Memo
(APN) ATLANTA — On September 03, 2014, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville
brought down sanctions against Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens and Holly LaBerge, Executive Secretary for the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, for their failure to produce documents crucial to the Stacey Kalberman’s whistleblower case against Gov. Nathan Deal and his cronies.
During his 2010 campaign for the seat he holds now, Olens held himself out as a man of the people, committing himself to transparency and open information. It is unclear why he chose to stifle information in the whistleblower case; the cost of his decision is a cool 10,000 dollars. Olens was fined in his official capacity, meaning that the taxpayers would foot the bill, but some feel he should be paying for this personally.
“Today’s sanctions are further proof that Sam Olens has once again failed Georgia as a lawyer and a leader. As Attorney General, Olens failed to prosecute corruption and has been sanctioned for misconduct. Because Olens failed to investigate corruption in 2011, taxpayers have already paid over $3 million to whistleblowers in this case. So I am calling for Attorney General Olens to pay the $10,000 sanctions fine out of his own pocket,” Greg Hecht, Democratic nominee for Georgia’s Attorney General, said in a statement.
Judge Glanville sanctioned both the Attorney General’s Office and state ethics commission director Holly LaBerge and ordered each to pay 10,000 dollars in fines for failing to turn over the documents that would have incriminated Deal without a doubt.
The “failure to comply with the basic discovery principles contained in the Civil Practice Act and the mandate contained in the Case Management Order not only amounts to a flagrant disregard for the basic rules governing litigation and the fair resolution of legal disputes in the State of Georgia, but also an injustice and an undermining of the confidence imposed by the citizens of the State of Georgia in the legal system,” Glanville ruled.
“Indeed, this is precisely the type of conduct contemplated by the above cited authority [case law], as it relates to the Court’s inherent authority to control the conduct of individuals connected with a judicial proceeding. Furthermore, because the impaneled jury has rendered a verdict in the above-captioned case and the conduct involves a non-party, the Court finds that the imposition of other sanctions, such as the striking of pleadings, infeasible. Simply put, the Court is left with only one recourse, the imposition of monetary sanctions,” Glanville ruled.
“Although the Court is aware that the imposition of monetary sanctions causes more financial pain to the citizens of Georgia, who are forced to bear the continued burden resulting from the events giving rise to the above-captioned case, the Court has no other recourse when faced with the conduct of the Department, and most appallingly, Defendant LaBerge, who has repeatedly proven herself to be dishonest and non-transparent. Accordingly, Defendant LaBerge, in her individual and personal capacity, and the Department are HEREBY ORDERED to pay Plaintiff the total amount of $20,000.00, representing the reasonable litigation expenses associated with the instant motion,” Glanville ruled, in his order, in case number 2012CV216247.
“The two state officials must pay $10,000 each for failing to disclose evidence that Gov. Nathan Deal’s top state-paid staff members improperly intervened in an ethics investigation of the governor and threatened the agency with retribution for its investigation. An attorney for Georgia’s former top ethics official—who was forced from her job for investigating the governor—said in the sanctions hearing she would have been able to call Gov. Nathan Deal to testify in the whistleblower trial if the state had not concealed the vital evidence,” the Jason Carter for Governor Campaign said in a statement.
Atlanta Progressive News has covered this story since its inception.
Whistleblower Verdict for Kalberman Exposes Gov. Deal on Ethics (UPDATE 1), April, 10, 2014
Settlement Amounts Add Up in Gov. Deal Whistleblower Lawsuits, June 27, 2014
LaBerge Memo Raises Questions about Deal’s Interference with Ethics Office, July 29, 2014
Gov. Deal’s Office Removes Executive Orders from Website, August 22nd, 2014
Judge Hears Contempt Motion Against Olens, LaBerge Over Withheld Memo, August 29, 2014