Candidate Courtney English Appears to Have Evaded APS Property Taxes
(APN) ATLANTA — Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education Chairman Courtney English, who is running for Atlanta City Council Post 1-at-large, appears to have evaded property taxes payable to the school system he chairs, Atlanta Progressive News has learned.
He claims to own, and to have purchased, his childhood home. At a recent candidates’ forum held by Georgia Stand Up on September 07, 2017, Mr. English told constituents, “I grew up in a neighborhood in Oakland City, I bought my childhood home when my parents passed away.”
He makes the statement at approximately the 29 minute point in the video.
In his 2016 Financial Disclosure Statement filed with the State of Georgia, English disclosed that he owned one property in Fulton County.
In disclosures and campaign materialized dating back several years, he has listed his address as 1107 Merrill Avenue SW, Atlanta, Georgia 30310.
However, the property tax records for 2016 and 2017 for this address, obtained by Atlanta Progressive News, does not list him as the owner.
“Glories and Joyce English” are listed as the property holders, even though he claims to have purchased the property.
Perhaps Glories and/or Joyce English qualified for a senior homestead property tax exemption; however, Courtney English, who says he is the real owner of the property, is not a senior citizen and therefore does not quality.
However, in 2016, only seventeen cents was paid towards Atlanta Public Schools bonds, and zero cents were paid to APS for operations, according to the Detailed Tax Summary for the property.
This assessment was based on a senior homestead exemption being claimed for this property, on the basis of Glories and Joyce English–not Courtney English–as the owner.
In 2017, only 32 cents has been assessed towards APS bonds, and zero cents assessed for APS operations.
So, there are two possibilities here, and in either one Mr. English appears to have lied.
Either, he really does own the property, and he failed to register himself as the owner, and he claimed a senior homestead property tax exemption to which he wasn’t entitled.
Alternatively, the property is owned by another relative, and he made a false statement in his financial disclosure, and during the Georgia Stand Up debate.
This wouldn’t be the first time Atlanta Progressive News caught Mr. English in a lie.
Mr. English has been criticizing the the incumbent, Councilman Michael Julian Bond (Post 1-at-large) over ethics issues; however, English–who previously lied to constituents about his misuse of an APS credit card–has no moral ground upon which to stand.
On July 30, 2010, English distributed a press release–which was forwarded by the Alisias PR firm and others–entitled, “I’ve made a mistake,” in which he admitted to the misuse of an APS credit card for personal expenses, but he insisted it was his first time and he did not know better.
However, the report issued on Tuesday, January 18, 2011, by the accreditation agency used by the State of Georgia, AdvancED/SACS CASI, regarding the APS Board, found that it was actually his second time inappropriately using an APS credit card.
Thus, English’s 2010 press release was dishonest as well. English has a long record of dishonesty.
“Dear Atlanta Community Member, As an elected member of the Atlanta Board of Education, I’ve made a mistake and I hope you will accept my apology,” English wrote in the 2010 press release.
“This is not the policy. I never should have made any personal purchases, period,” he wrote.
“I am responsible for $855.83 of disallowed charges made to the credit card between May 29 and June 30, 2010. These charges included an airline ticket, food, gratuities, hotel charges, and other sundries. On July 14, 2010, I reimbursed the district in full for all disallowed charges. I apologize for this mistake. I take seriously my responsibilities as an elected school board member. I will never make this mistake again. Sincerely, Courtney English,” he wrote.
However, SACS found that it was, in fact, his second time misusing the credit card.
“An additional public trust issue came to light when a board member used his school district-issued charge card to make personal purchases,” AdvancED wrote.
“The board member has demonstrated a complete disregard for following clear system rules and regulations concerning use of his charge card. Not once, but rather twice, his improper use of the charge card came to light,” AdvancED wrote.
“In the first instance, he charged approximately $65 of personal charges on his school district-issued charge card. He was counseled by the administration, repaid the amount and warned not to do so again,” AdvancED wrote.
“Failing to heed such counseling, the same board member proceeded to log $855.83 in personal charges on his school district-issued charge card. This time the event became the subject of an ethics complaint, subjecting the board member to an ethics complaint protocol,” AdvancED wrote.
English did not respond an email sent yesterday from APN evening seeking comment.
Editorial disclosure: Since 2014, the Editor of APN has been a paid city supplier for Mr. Bond’s Council Office, including providing legislative drafting and constituent newsletter drafting services. We have consistently disclosed this because we want readers to have full media literacy and transparency, and it is worth pointing out that APN’s coverage of Mr. English’s ethical challenges dates back to 2010, as noted above.
(END / Copyright Atlanta Progressive News / 2017)