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Contentious Watchdog Head Announces Complaints Against Witts

Snellville Councilman Tom Witts, supporters, walked out of a Friday press conference before it was finished.

The executive director of a Georgia watchdog group announced his intentions to file ethics complaints against two Snellville officials Friday afternoon.

But less than 10 minutes into a press conference in a front hallway at City Hall, Ethics in Government Group head George Anderson lost most of the audience. A group of more than a dozen supporters of Councilman Tom Witts, and Witts himself, walked out the front door, saying there are no merits to Anderson’s claims.

After they left, only a couple of media people and three or four others remained as Anderson further claimed he had evidence Witts and Snellville's Chief Municipal Court Judge Mark Layng violated a handful of ethics codes.

Anderson says he is asking for investigations into alleged violations, mostly centered around Witts owing back state taxes, an alleged conflict of interest due to his association with Layng, and disclosure of campaign contributions.

Anderson says he has already filed complaints with the Governor's Office and the City of Snellville, and plans to file complaints with the Campaign Finance Commission and Judicial Qualifications Committee.

Among his complaints, Anderson alleges that Witts, also Snellville's mayor pro tem, violated his oath of office in 2009 by witholding information that he owed $28,000 in back state taxes.

“You owe $28,000 and in your oath of office, it states that you are not the holder of any unaccountable funds due to the state,” Anderson said. “You knew at the time when you took that oath of office that it was a falsehood.”

, including penalties and interest. He said he owes for taking a disbursement of 401K funds in 2007 after his wife was laid off. He said the money "I borrowed from myself" helped prevent him from laying off employees and kept his business (Georgia Property Restoration) afloat.

"[Despite Anderson's charges] I'd still make that decision. I'd still do it. I'd still take care of the families [of his employees]. I'd still take care of my family," said Witts, who said he has disclosed his debt in an open city council meeting. "I have nothing to hide."

Anderson believes Layng, who is Witts' attorney and co-owns the Tucker building that houses Witts' business, was unethical for swearing Witts into office. It was a conflict of interest due to the relationship, he charges. Layng was not present Friday.

Friday's press conference was contentious and included some heated exchanges between Anderson and many in the crowd who are Witts supporters, which included State Rep. Brett Harrell and Councilman Dave Emanuel. Anderson took shots at the Governor and the State Legislature as a whole, and called a woman at the press conference who referred to herself as a community activist a "community pest."

As the group left, comments like “This is nonsense,” “It’s a sideshow” and “I’ve got to get back to work,” echoed in the hallway.

"Have a good day," Anderson said to the group. "Oh, most of you are Councilman Witts' folks? Oh, howdy, doody."

Witts said he had not seen Anderson’s complaints — more than 100 pages worth — before Friday and he did not leave with copies of them.

He planned to be at the press conference, but added that he didn’t ask anybody to also attend.

“How blessed I am to have so many people come out for me,” Witts said outside the building. “These are people who know me and know that I am ethical.”

Kenneth Stepp June 10, 2012 at 07:48 PM
How often does George Anderson go after Democrats? http://www.peachpundit.com/2008/02/20/how-often-does-george-anderson-go-after-democrats/
Gary Custar June 10, 2012 at 08:15 PM
"that he was not the holder of any state funds." Anderson, you purposely leave out two all important words 'UNACCOUNTED FOR' It reads "not the holder of any UNACCOUNTED FOR state funds. They were accounted for, a payment plan was in effect. Nothing was unaccounted for. You fail. The three stooges who hired you fail. Don't go away mad little feller, just go away.
Gary Custar June 10, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Ken, thanks for all your support of Tom Witts. He is a great guy and I'm glad to call him a friend.
George Anderson June 10, 2012 at 08:22 PM
http://www.ripoffreport.com/auto-dealers/southeast-financial/southeast-financial-fine-aut-by6c8.htm
George Anderson June 10, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Ken Stepp is a good friend of Tom Witts. However, it appears Ken Stepp is, as, financially challenged as is Councilman Witts. #3 Owner of Company I am Ken Stepp AUTHOR: Dan - Lawrenceville (U.S.A.) SUBMITTED: Sunday, February 25, 2007 Mr -- Bought a car "AS IS" and wanted nothing to do with a service contract or warranty. He knows this but continues to talk about my company.He has no real complaint or he would bring it to Gwinnett County Courts. I have turned the case over to My attorney because he has done this to a lot of businesses that has done business with him.Most have paid him something.I will not.It takes a coward to try bthis kind of thing and thats what he is.Scam someone else Mr ---.I will not give into your kind of theft.America is a great Country but people who try what you are trying only abuse our freedom. Ken Stepp President/Owner Southeast Financial 584 Buford Drive Lawrenceville Ga 30045 http://www.ripoffreport.com/auto-dealers/southeast-financial/southeast-financial-fine-aut-by6c8.htmhttp:// www.ripoffreport.com/auto-dealers/southeast-financial/southeast-financial-fine-aut-by6c8.htm http://www.ripoffreport.com/auto-dealers/southeast-financial/southeast-financial-fine-aut-by6c8.htm Ken Stepp is a good friend of Tom Witts. However, it appears Ken Stepp is financially challenged as is Councilman Witts.
George Anderson June 10, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Southeast Financial - Fine Automotive ripoff BEWARE OF SOUTHEAST FINANCIAL AND FINE AUTOMOTIVE IN Lawrenceville Georgia. Ken Stepp has truely lost his mind AUTHOR: Stepp2thehighstreet - Stone Mountain (U.S.A.) SUBMITTED: Thursday, December 27, 2007 Very sorry that anyone has purchased a car from this dealership. Its sad that an individual only looks at people as obstacles that he needs to crush. He uses people for what he needs for that moment and only that moment. I was used for months as an employee and was told he would pay and never did. This place is now closed and thank god for that.
Kenneth Stepp June 10, 2012 at 10:34 PM
George that's one person out of thousands that would say the opposite about me. 30 Years in business and one person. Congrats. You now know how to Google things and share it like it's truth while knowing nothing about it at all. I had the number one dealership in the state according to D&B for years. A mortgage company, lending company, and garages. The reason my business is closed is because I had a theft of over a million dollars. The girl that wrote that is now in prison as is the guy that wrote the other stuff. Meth, theft, and burglary. Say all you want George. Your the one that lies for a living. Again you find yourself saying things about someone that aren't true. You have really mastered that haven't you ? I worked 30 years for what I had only to have it stolen by people that have almost all went to prison. But thank you for pointing that out instead of all the good on the internet. You really don't have a soul at all. Go back to Rome and mind your own business. Again Gwinnett doesn't need you.
Kenneth Stepp June 10, 2012 at 10:41 PM
It appears that George Anderson is morally bankrupt and rips off the people that he says he is helping. That's pretty easy to believe for me. GEORGE ANDERSON EIGG Rips off Advocates for Clean & Open Government http://www.topix.com/forum/city/rome-ga/T2EGVA0LAB4OEFOTF
Kenneth Stepp June 10, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Here's another commissioner George Anderson made baseless claims about. These ethics complaints are interesting. I keep reading about all these people who he complained about that were in fact innocent of what he claimed. I'm betting he gets paid handsomely for making this crap up. What a shallow way to live life. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ No proof of ethics violation against Cedartown commissioners http://www.examiner.com/article/no-proof-of-ethics-violation-against-cedartown-commissioners I wonder if George ever apologizes to his victims. Not enough integrity for that I guess.
Kenneth Stepp June 10, 2012 at 11:05 PM
Here's another one George filed a complaint about that was found baseless. George Anderson really gets off on this false charge stuff I guess. He wants people to think he own ethics when in fact he's left a pretty ugly trail behind him. Sad way to make a living. http://www.rn-t.com/view/full_story/4010459/article-District-Attorney-Leigh-Patterson-cleared-in-barbecue-winnings-election-complaint- It looks like there are too many cases like this to count. Why would anybody listen to this windbag ? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ District Attorney Leigh Patterson cleared in barbecue winnings election complaint
Kenneth Stepp June 10, 2012 at 11:08 PM
George Anderson was also sued (that's what I understood) by the State Bar Association for ...... Rome ethics watchdog sued State Bar files suit claiming unlawful law practice 07/19/07 By Mike Gellatly, Rome News-Tribune Staff Writer I cannot see why this guy would be considered credible at all.
George Anderson June 10, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Honesty, integrity, honor, moral character...are foreign to Ken Stepp. He is sad, tragic, and pitiful. However, he is proud to be a friend of a dishonest elected official...Thomas Witts.
Kenneth Stepp June 10, 2012 at 11:25 PM
There are many cases that after filing these complaints the people were later found innocent of the baseless charges George brought about them. Politically motivated, agenda driven by a man that obviously has plenty of ethics issues himself. Unfortunately the lives that are hurt in the wake of trashing them seem like just collateral damage to me based on everything I now know about George Anderson and his creation "Ethics in Government Group" (EGG).
Kenneth Stepp June 10, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Since the watchdog doesn't have anyone checking up on him or his company I believe I will become a watchdogs watchdog. Everything about George needs to be made public and in many many places. And that will be my hobby. As he says "the people need to know". And they will. I'll assume he would like a lot of light shined on his mistakes since that's what he claims to have dedicated his life to. I wonder what his victims would say about him. I'm going to find out.
Kenneth Stepp June 10, 2012 at 11:33 PM
George, you are a morally corrupt bully. It will be my pleasure to have some fun at your expense. They say in an argument that the one with the most to lose always does. I am proud to call Tom a friend. You are someone I'm going to enjoy getting to know.
Kenneth Stepp June 10, 2012 at 11:37 PM
And everyone else will get to know George Anderson and "Ethics in Government Group" (EGG). That sir is a promise.
Kenneth Stepp June 10, 2012 at 11:51 PM
"He’s has filed nearly 400 ethics complaints with the panel, including several against Deal. Over the years, he’s won a few, but lost many more." http://savannahnow.com/column/2011-07-24/political-notes-bad-idea-deal-tee-george-anderson Like I sad. I wonder if he apologizes after trashing someone's name when the truth comes out and the allegations are found to be false ?
Kenneth Stepp June 10, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Here's another complaint against two Gwinnett officials in 2008. Smeared their names, got in the news, complaints went nowhere. Just trashing peoples reputation and moving on. Serving no apparent purpose. Just filing more complaints that were later dropped. http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=348&dat=20080708&id=IsE_AAAAIBAJ&sjid=FiUMAAAAIBAJ&pg=2073,1562517
Kenneth Stepp June 11, 2012 at 12:01 AM
I wonder if George Anderson apologized to them.
Gary Custar June 11, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Ken- George Anderson and the fruitcakes that hire him know that the complaints he files against folks are false and will later get thrown out or withdrawn. The only reason they do this is to later be able to use in an election against the one the complaint was filed against by saying, "So-and-so had an ethics complaint filed against them last year". Unfortunately a lot of the public hears only this, not the fact that the complaint was a crock of horse manure (and the filers always knew it was) and it taints the one they filed against. Dirty politics at it worst, but then again, George Anderson (a failed politician wanna-be) along with Larry, Moe, and Curly are no strangers to scum-bag politics because they were scum-bag politicians!
Dave Emanuel June 11, 2012 at 01:12 AM
Ken, Gary-- don't waste your time or effort-- you're debating with a shill. Anyone who was at the side show (alleged press conference) saw for themselves that Anderson was barely lucid. I find it difficult to believe he wrote the responses posted here. There is absolutely no basis for the allegations made by Anderson so this whole side show is nothing more than an effort to divert attention away from all the great things that Tom Witts has been instrumental in bringing to our city. To name a few- *The Snellville Tourism and Trade Association (STAT) *The award-winning Snellville Farmer's Market *The Community Garden *The "Weekend for Aimee" fundraiser for Aimee Copeland * Snellville's mobile stage Tom Witts has never claimed credit for any part of these improvements, and while many people played important roles, without Tom's vision and perseverance, Snellville citizens would not have so many great things to enjoy.
Gary Custar June 11, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Dave--You are right about wasting time and effort arguing with Anderson. It's sort of like wrestling a pig, you get dirty and the pig likes it. Tom has done great things for the city of Snellville over the years. The citizens recognize this and know that the jerks who put Anderson up to this stunt/farce/charade/witch-hunt are nothing more than 8th grade playground bullies who didn't get their way in the last election. Snellville will be a much better place once those old coots finally go off to their miserable little corner of eternity.
George Anderson June 11, 2012 at 02:15 AM
Councilman Dave E.... Your State Ethics Complaint was mailed out on Saturday morning to the CFC, formerly named the State Ethics Commission. You sir, will face a reckoning. An elected official who calls a citizen of the State of Georgia one who needs medication is not honorable but a schill, a schizophreniat, & a mean-spirited elected official of Snellville, Georgia.
George Anderson June 11, 2012 at 02:18 AM
Our conversations have been educating today. I've learned how many idiots will stand up for Tom Witts. Au Revoir
Dave Emanuel June 11, 2012 at 02:53 AM
George Anderson-- Thank you. Your complaint will provide me with an excellent opportunity to spotlight your unethical, libelous activities and investigate remedies.
Snellville Tod June 11, 2012 at 03:09 AM
Watch out everyone! Someone has hit a nerve.
Kenneth Stepp June 11, 2012 at 10:03 AM
And that nerve will be hit many times soon enough.
lynchsales June 11, 2012 at 03:50 PM
There is plenty of real dirt on George Anderson. I'll send some of you some dirt from people that know all about him.
Jamie Dempsey June 12, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Ladies and GENTLEMEN of Snellville- let it go. a loud roar that goes into an empty vacuum soon drowns itself out. The rise that Mr. Anderson is getting, and the (printed, and therefore usable) responses he is getting, only serves to fuel his misguided fire. Let's move on with the important business of Snellville and the surrounding areas, and let Mr. Anderson carry the VAST burden of PROOF that he was not able to support in the press conference. "I heard." "It is alleged." "I was told that." Responsible journalists, and responsible citizens will weigh on those words as easily as they do whatever comes after them. While it IS, regardless of who is paying him to do so, Mr. Anderson's right to go down this road, it is OUR responsibility to not encourage him in his irresponsible actions.
Lauren Jones September 13, 2012 at 04:20 AM
Danny Porter is supposedly the hardest working DA in America? Are you freaking kidding? This is a man who has botched case after case (He botched my sister's murder trial so badly that her murderer and the man who tried to kill me got a slap on the wrist.), is considered by most of the justices working at the Gwinnett County Courthouse to be a joke (I am very well acquainted with two of the justices.), and is known to give preferential treatment to people who don't deserve it (The CGHS cheerleader who killed members of a family in a crosswalk.). I have spoken to other victims of violent crime in Gwinnett and by and large we all agreed that not only did we believe Danny Porter to be one of the worst parts of the legal system in Gwinnett, but not a single one of us trusted him and would ask specifically for someone else to be put in charge of our cases should something ever happen again to us.

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