DeKalb County police detectives executed a search warrant of CEO Burrell Ellis’ Stone Mountain home and county offices Monday morning.
Ellis, addressing a small gathering of media a few hours later, said he was informed about the matter shortly after testifying before a grand jury investigating county watershed operations.
“I don’t know that I’m a target of the investigation,” Ellis said. “It’s a pretty broad warrant that they’ve issued … I have been told that I will be given a list of anything, including my personal effects, that are taken away.”
Ellis fielded questions from media, but declined commenting on the details of his grand jury appearance citing legal barriers.
“I have instructed my staff to cooperate fully with any investigation, whether that be in the form of testimony or providing documentation,” Ellis said.
Ellis, when asked, denied any “inappropriate” activities between himself and county vendors and supporters of his re-election campaign — such as favors in exchange for contributions or support.
The chief executive was sworn into his second term just last week. His 83-year-old mother, present for that ceremony, was at Ellis’ home when officers served the search warrants.
“She said they knocked on the door, [announced themselves] and then they were coming in,” said Ellis.
A spokesman for the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office declined comment on the ongoing investigation.
The search warrant, signed by Judge Cynthia J. Becker, of the DeKalb County Superior Court, detailed the following items to look for.
At the DeKalb County Finance office, any information pertaining to the American Expres credit card records for Ellis was taken.
At his home and office, officers were in search of vehicles registered in his name, handwriting samples, personal and business financial records, safety deposit box keys or documentation, cell phones, electronic storage devices, all documents pertaining to contracts with DeKalb County, and cosulting agreements with vendors doing business, or attempting to do business with the county.
The search of his home was also to include any records pertaining to DeKalb County probation services contract, lobbying contract(s), watershed management, ambulance services contract, Capital Improvement Program, Sentinel Probation Services, Montgomery Watson, Rural Metro Ambulance, Massey-Bowers, and the Ferguson Group.
Records dealing with all campaign financial related documents and notes or reports pertaining to the solicitation of campaign contributions were also searched for in Ellis’ home, his office at 330 W. Ponce de Leon Ave., as well as campaign finance disclosure records at the DeKalb County Elections office.
Computers and electronic storage devices assigned to members of his staff — Nina Hall, Karen Williams, Chief of Staff Hakim Hilliard and Joel Alvarado — were also searched for at his West Ponce de Leon office.