Investigators from the DeKalb District Attorney’s Office searched Ellis’ Stone Mountain home and his Decatur office while he was testifying for the second time before the special grand jury.
Ellis introduced the team of attorneys – Craig Gillen, J. Tom Morgan, John Petrey and Anthony Lake – at a Jan. 17 news conference.
Morgan is a former DeKalb DA, Petrey is a former DeKalb assistant district attorney, and Gillen was a federal prosecutor before becoming a defense lawyer and winning acquittals for high-profile clients. Lake is Gillen’s law partner.
Ellis said that he is focused on the business of running DeKalb County and won’t let the recent flurry of suspicion distract him. He said he is ready for whatever the DA’s office throws his way.
Search warrants for the Jan. 7 raids said investigators were collecting evidence under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, extortion, bribery, theft by taking, and influence-peddling laws.
The special grand jury has been probing the county’s Watershed Management Department and county contracting for more than a year.
Investigators were looking for vehicles registered or assigned to Ellis and personal and business financial records including checking accounts, savings accounts, retirement and investment accounts, tax returns, safe deposit box keys, and storage devices.
They left his office and home with boxes of documents and computer hard drives.
In addition to raiding Ellis’ property, investigators also searched the home and offices of Kevin Ross, Ellis’ friend and former campaign manager.
They also obtained his campaign contribution records and county contracts, including firms Ross represented after Ellis was elected.
The warrants also sought information about five companies – Sentinel Probation Services, Montgomery Watson, Rural Metro Ambulance, Massey-Bowers, and the Ferguson Group – that have done more than $4 million in business with the county since Ellis became CEO.
Ellis received about $20,000 in campaign contributions from individuals associated with the companies.
Neither Ellis nor Ross has been charged with a crime. Both deny any wrongdoing.