An report released May 21 indicates Dunwoody City Attorney Brian Anderson and a city council member may be responsible for alleged leaks from an executive session regarding a complicated land deal.
The 40-page report issued by law firm Wilson, Morton and Downs details findings regarding the improper release of confidential information from executive sessions of the mayor and city council.
Attorney Robert Wilson said his firm was hired by the city in early February to investigate the allegations.
The beginning of the report, which is addressed to Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis and the rest of the council and signed by Wilson states, “We have determined that the confidentiality of executive sessions was breached and by whom. Our investigative reports and findings are attached.”
The report then describes how Anderson and City Councilwoman Adrian Bonser allegedly leaked details of a land deal they disagreed with to a reporter at the Dunwoody Crier newspaper and a political blogger.
In Anderson’s case the report states that on Jan. 23 and Feb. 3 the Dunwoody City Council went into executive sessions to discuss the “Georgetown Project,” a city revitalization plan involving a complex real estate transaction. According to the Georgia Open Meetings and Records Law, the sale is not covered under executive session.
However, the project included a complex land transaction involving the sale of portions of a 16-acre farm known as the PVC Farm to purchase a 19-acre parcel of property in an area known as Georgetown.
“Brian Anderson advised the council that the sale and acquisition, as part of a single transaction, were proper subjects for discussion at these closed meetings,” the report states. “After this investigation was under way, however, he claimed, for the first time that the sale should not have been discussed in executive session.”
Following the Jan. 23 executive session the report states that Anderson breached confidentiality by asking a Dunwoody Crier reporter whether he was aware of the land deal. The report claims Anderson then made another breach of confidentiality when an Open Records Act request was received.
“At that time, Anderson suddenly took a different position and claimed that the sale of the PVC Farm was not confidential or exempt from public disclosure, even though it was inextricably intertwined with the acquisition of real estate. Anderson began pushing the city clerk and city manager to immediately release, in redacted form, the documents discussed during the executive session,” the report states.
According to the report, Anderson wanted to release the documents to make his previous leak a “moot” point. Councilwoman Bonser allegedly leaked information to a source who gave blogger Bob Lundsten details regarding the Feb. 3 executive session. When Bonser was interviewed by investigators, the report states she “was not truthful in her responses.”
“She insisted that she was ‘warming up’ to the project at the Feb. 3 meeting and went on to claim that she declared in the meeting that she ‘liked it,’ the report states, alleging emails to her constituents following the meeting dispute that claim.
In the evidence portion of the report’s findings, Bonser states in an email to one of her constituents, “There is nothing going on with the sale or trading of this land that could not be discussed in public…there is no need for executive session discussions.” The report states Bonser had a personal interest in leaking details from the session because she opposed the land purchase.
At a May 14 council meeting Davis and Councilman Terry Nall called for Anderson’s dismissal but failed to reach a majority. Several council members said they want to read the full report before making a decision. The item is expected to be brought up again during the May 29 council meeting.
Bonser disputes the reports claims and claims investigators didn’t approach the investigation as “a search for truth.”
“Mr. Wilson and his associate had a specific agenda and set of targets,” Bonser said in a statement provided to The Champion. “I fundamentally disagree with the findings and believe the integrity of the investigation itself is highly questionable and, the expenditure of an estimated $50,000 of Dunwoody taxpayer monies on said report wasteful.”
Anderson could not be reached for comment on this story but claims he did nothing wrong, according to reports.