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" Ethics Leader Sues Over Termination "


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http://ajc.com

Former director, assistant file lawsuits against ethics commission

By Aaron Gould Sheinin and Chris Joyner

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

12:50 p.m. Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The former head of the state ethics commission and her top deputy have sued the state over the way their employment with the agency ended.

Stacey Kalberman was the commission's executive director until agreeing to step down in 2011 following a lengthy and public disagreement with the commission, the details of which were first reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in June 2011.

Kalberman said she was pushed from her job over her investigation into complaints against Gov. Nathan Deal's campaign, but members of the commission said a budgetary crisis required more immediate attention and that Kalberman quit when she was told her pay would be cut deeply.

Kalberman's former deputy, Sherilyn Streicker, had her position eliminated in a subsequent organizational reshuffling.

A later investigation by the state inspector general found Deal played no role in the shake-up.

Holly LaBerge, the current commission director, confirmed the lawsuits Wednesday but said she could not discuss them.

Efforts to reach Kalberman, Streicker and their attorneys were not immediately successful. A spokeswoman for Attorney General Sam Olens would not comment. Olens would likely defend the commission in the suits.

The Courthouse News Service first reported that Kalberman and Streicker had filed separate lawsuits.

According to court documents, filed in Fulton County Superior Court, Kalberman says she was fired in violation of the Georgia Whistleblower Act because she was investigating irregularities in Deal's campaign. Kalberman and Streicker are both suing the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, the official name of the state ethics agency. Kalberman is also suing LaBerge and Patrick Millsaps, the former chairman of the commission.

Millsaps told the AJC he would not "comment on frivolous litigation."

In her suit, Kalberman said she had discovered “troubling irregularities” in Deal’s campaign accounts, including donations in excess of contribution limits and contribution reports with “systematic irregularities.”

Kalberman says she asked the campaign for documents in September 2010 but Deal’s attorney ignored her. She said she held off on the investigation at the commission’s request until after the election so it would not be “perceived as an attempt to influence the election.” But she said she did meet several times with Millsaps to share her findings and to discuss with him meetings she had with an assistant U.S. attorney and FBI agents.

Kalberman said Millsaps “was visibly upset” and told her to keep the details of the investigation in “strict confidence.”

Kalberman described a June 9 meeting with Millsaps and fellow Commissioner Hillary Stringfellow where she was told the commission’s budget problems would require her to take a 35 percent cut in salary and fire Streicker, the deputy secretary. Kalberman said she became emotional but denied that she agreed to resign.

She accused Millsaps of spreading “malicious rumors” to the media that she had resigned and “behaved badly” at the June meeting. Kalberman said Millsaps’ comments to the media amounted to a “public flaying” that forced her to leave her position.

Kalberman said her resignation “amounted to a constructive termination” because the commission had reduced her to “nothing more than a figurehead.”

Kalberman said the episode prevented her from finding similar work, including an ethics position with the city of Atlanta.

Kalberman is asking that she be reinstated to her former position with back pay or receive three years’ salary and benefits and compensatory damages, including for “mental anguish.”

Edited by holymoses
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"Nathan Deal

June 13th, 2012

12:50 pm

You morons in this state voted me in even though I was already being investigated. Now I’m here to stay, and anyone who wants to come after me now is going down hard!"

Awesome.

You should find that Iggy guy and kick his sorry ***.

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"Nathan Deal

June 13th, 2012

12:50 pm

You morons in this state voted me in even though I was already being investigated. Now I’m here to stay, and anyone who wants to come after me now is going down hard!"

Awesome.

You should find that Iggy guy and kick his sorry ***.

You'll never guess who "Pop" is . . . .

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