Letters Bartow County Tea Party Director Gail Engelhardt sent to the grand jury and U.S. Attorney allege a "serious violation of voter fraud" by the county .
The move follows a to determine if Post 5 representative Anna Sullivan, who was , can retain and in November.
Engelhardt alleges in the letters, attached as .pdfs, that Sullivan's is the second appointment in about six years that violated a legal requirement for a special election to fill a vacant seat.
In a press release, Engelhardt writes:
At the school board meeting the evening of 6-18-12, Dr. Nelson lightly touched upon a couple of issues facing the Board. The first item was the appointment of Anna Sullivan. In his statement, Dr. Nelson stated:
“I understand that a number of people have contacted the Attorney General, the Secretary of State, the State Board of Education, the Elections Board, County commissioner, and even the Probate Judge. Our attorney has done the same at our request. As of this date, no office has issued a ruling that the Board did anything wrong.”
Yes, we did exhaust every known avenue to find out what entity was responsible to instruct the Board of Education regarding the Rule of Law and to request that a by the Bartow Board of Elections in early February and March, 2012. In the meantime, however, we did receive word back from the Attorney General's Office through one of our GA. State legislators, wherein it was stated that the AG Office's opinion of the law was that a Special Election had to be held to fill the position. Further the Georgia General Assembly's legislative counsel reported it's understanding of the law regarding appointments to the Board, which is that the Bartow County Board of Education must fill vacancies by election, not appointment, and the 2003 law has not been amended. It is important to set the record straight because we did make every effort to substantiate our requests that the Board comply with the Rule of Law before . The BOE was asked several times by Bartow citizens to comply with the Rule of Law, but chose to ignore our requests. It appears that there are two agencies, however, which Mr. Boyd Pettit, the School System Attorney, and others did not contact.
That, however, has changed.
Thursday afternoon, as a Bartow resident, taxpayer and Director of the Bartow Tea Party, I mailed on 6/21/12 via Certified Mail letters to the United States Assistant Attorney General for the Northern District of Georgia, Mrs. Sally Yates, and a letter to Mr. Harris B. Williams, foreman of the April Grand Jury c/o of the Superior Court Clerk in Bartow County. In my letter to the U.S. Attorney and Grand Jury Foreman, it states that the purpose is to seek an inquiry into voter fraud on the part of the Board, assisted by the System Attorney, as this does not appear to be the first attempt to violate Georgia Law in this regard. In my letter to Mr. Williams, it further states that should the Grand Jury believe it needs the advice of an attorney, they should request that assistance from the State Attorney General’s office as the District Attorney’s office is “incompetent and disqualified by law to provide you with legal advice in these matters as a part of your investigation shall include an inquiry into that office.” There were no specific allegations made as to any wrong doing in the District Attorney’s office.
As a relative “newcomer” to Bartow (approximately 7 years) and as a legal professional I am appalled at the conduct of the Bartow Board of Education and the allegations of corruption I've been hearing. If they are true, Bartow County is in even more serious trouble than suspected.
Regardless, it is past time that the properly authorized inquisitorial bodies get to the bottom of these allegations, and either put them to rest or issue special presentments to clean up this County.
As a former native of suburban Chicago, Illinois, I remember the 80s and the Federal “Greylord” cases in which several judges and lawyers were investigated, proven guilty and received prison sentences for massive corruption uncovered in the legal profession in Cook County, Illinois. All it takes are a few good citizens to be brave enough to come forward and request an investigation of possible corruption even in our own County. When we see or believe a law is being violated by one or more of our public officials, it is our civic duty to bring it to the attention of the proper authorities including filing a complaint and requesting an investigation within our legal system. If we chose to ignore the Rule of Law and do nothing, what kind of example would be setting for the children of Bartow? They deserve better than that and so do the voters and citizens of Bartow.
Corruption is bad enough when it occurs in any area of our society, but when it occurs in the profession of law and at the hands of our public servants (who seem to forget that is what they are), then the words of Frederic Bastiat become poignant wherein he observed: "It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.”