Arrington Faces Ethics, Bar Complaint for Conflict of Interest (UPDATE 1)
(APN) ATLANTA — Fulton County Commission Vice Chair Marvin Arrington, Jr., (District 5) is facing an ethics complaint and a bar complaint for his conflict of interest in running Fulton County Government while obtaining favorable results for his clients as a criminal defense attorney in Fulton County’s court system.
State Rep.-elect Mesha Mainor (D-Atlanta) filed the complaints against Commissioner Arrington, Jr., after his conflict became apparent in his representation of Corwin Monson.
Commissioner Arrington is representing Mr. Monson in a criminal defense matter where Rep.-elect Mainor has been seeking enforcement of a restraining order against Monson for aggravated stalking.
“Fulton County Commissioner Marvin Arrington is using his elected position to sway deals as a criminal defense attorney,” Mainor wrote in the Bar Complaint, a copy of which has been obtained by Atlanta Progressive News.
“More than one ADA stated that when Fulton County Commissioner Marvin Arrington can’t get his way, he tells them, ‘I’ll just talk to Paul [Howard],’ Fulton County District Attorney,” Mainor wrote.
“It is unethical for Marvin Arrington to practice criminal law against Fulton County, whom he he [sic] has sworn to protect in his oath of office. Marvin Arrington is double dipping,” Mainor wrote.
“He is being paid by Fulton County to work against Fulton County, and also is responsible for paying Fulton County judges and the DA office which he presents cases to,” Mainor wrote.
Commissioner Arrington, Jr., was elected to the Fulton County Board of Commissioners in 2014; and he has still practiced both civil and criminal law in cases before Fulton County Superior Court in that time.
In 2017, Arrington, Jr., began representing a client, Carl Drury, III, in a tort matter in Fulton County Superior Court – causing multiple judges to recuse themselves from hearing the case.
After Arrington, Jr., filed a notice of appearance as Drury’s attorney, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney recused himself from the case because of the conflict of interest stemming from Arrington’s role as Fulton County Commissioner.
“As Defendant Drury knows or should have known, Attorney Arrington honorably serves this County as a duly-elected County Commissioner,” Judge McBurney wrote in the October 23, 2017 order.
“The County Commission plays a significant role in the operations of the Superior Court, to include setting the Court’s budget, determining court employee salaries, and establishing the Judges’ county supplement (an augmentation of our state salary),” McBurney wrote.
“Consistent with Rule 1.2(A) (promoting public confidence in the independence and impartiality of the judiciary) and Rule 2.11(A) (requiring disqualification when the public might reasonably question a judge’s impartiality) of the Georgia Code of Judicial Conduct, the undersigned is sua sponte recusing from this matter,” McBurney wrote. Sua sponte means of his own initiative, or without a motion.
Two days later, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Craig Schwall recused himself from the Drury case for the same reason.
On Nov. 23, 2017, Judge Paige Reese Whitaker filed a notice of basis for disqualification for the same reason.
However, despite three judges putting Commissioner Arrington, Jr., on notice of at least the appearance of impropriety, he continues to represent clients in criminal and civil matters in Fulton County.
ARRINGTON’S ROLE IN THE CORWIN MONSON STALKING CASE
Mainor previously ran in the March 19, 2019 Special Election for Atlanta City Council District 3 before being elected to House District 56 in 2020.
Within two weeks, “he was yelling, being aggressive, irrational, overbearing,” Mainor told Atlanta Progressive News.
In February 2019, Mainor let him go from the campaign. After that, “he was in full stalker mode, calling me hundreds of times a day, leaving voicemail messages.
It became frightening.”
“By May, he was dropping gifts off at my house because he couldn’t talk to me,” Mainor said.
“By June, I had criminal trespassing orders because he was blocking my driveway. Because he was at my door. I called 911, he’s on my property, he won’t leave. They said, do you want criminal trespassing orders? I said yes.”
“By July, he joined my church,” Mainor said.
In August 2019, Mainor obtained a thirty day restraining order from Fulton County Magistrate Court Judge Alexandra Manning; and in September 2019, obtained a one year order.
After Monson violated the restraining order on multiple occasions, Mainor called the police and Monson went to jail.
In October 2019, Judge Manning let Monson out on bond. However, he continued to violate the restraining order.
According to Mainor, Commissioner Arrington went over the head of the Assistant District Attorney assigned to Mainor’s case, to Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, in order to obtain a better deal for his client, Mr. Monson.
As Fulton County Commissioner, Arrington’s job is supposed to be about promoting the health, safety, and welfare of the people of Fulton County.
And yet, by representing Mr. Monson, Arrington is leveraging his position as Commissioner to undermine the public safety of the people of Fulton County, according to Mainor.
“District Attorney Paul Howard is giving Arrington (friendship) deals without even looking at the facts of the case. Monson has been arrested twice for stalking me. Paul Howard offered Arrington a misdemeanor for felony aggravted [sic] stalking without even seeing the evidecvce that was in the posession of ADA Jeremy Daily,” Mainor wrote.
“Arrington is using his elected role as Fulton County Commissioner to elicit deals from the Fulton employees he pays and manages,” Mainor wrote.
“Several ADA report being intimidated by Arringtom because of his position as County Commissioner versus colleage criminal defense attorney. ADA staff have state they feel uncomfortable with the position Fulton County Commissioner Marvin Arrington places them in, which jeopardizes their ability to protect Fulton County residents,” Mainor wrote.
Monson went to back to jail today, November 05, 2020, according to Rep.-elect Mainor, after Fulton County Superior Court Judge Kelly Lee Ellerbe held a hearing regarding Monson’s violations of the restraining order.
Previously, Commissioner Arrington had his own criminal issues in Fulton County Superior Court, when he was arrested for allegedly pushing and dragging his wife in a domestic dispute.
Commissioner Arrington did not immediately respond to a message left at his law office seeking comment.
(END / Copyright Atlanta Progressive News / 2020)
UPDATE 1 and CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated that Mr. Monson had been charged with aggravated assault; however, the charge is for aggravated stalking. The article has been updated and corrected to reflect the correct information.