State to pay $1.8 million to settle ethics cases

Updated: 9:30 a.m. Saturday, June 14, 2014  |  Posted: 5:37 p.m. Friday, June…

Georgia (Jun 16, 2014)Updated: 9:30 a.m. Saturday, June 14, 2014  |  Posted: 5:37 p.m. Friday, June 13, 2014


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By Aaron Gould Sheinin - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The state of Georgia on Friday agreed to pay more than $1.8 million to settle two lawsuits against its ethics commission and one that had yet to be filed.

The decision to pay, and avoid trial, brings to nearly $3 million the cost to taxpayers to end a series of legal battles that have dogged the commission and Gov. Nathan Deal for two years.

In agreements signed Friday, former commission deputy director Sherilyn Streicker will be paid $1 million and the agency’s computer specialist, John Hair, will receive $410,000. Former commission attorney Elisabeth Murray-Obertein, who had threatened to sue, will receive $477,500.

The settlements come two months after a Fulton County jury awarded former commission director Stacey Kalberman $700,000 plus attorneys fees — $1.15 million in all — after a week-long trial.

The payments will come out of an insurance fund the state maintains with taxpayer dollars.  …

Kennesaw State University political scientist Ralph Durham said settling the cases in June is better for Deal than having trials spread out through the fall. Still, the governor had better be ready for more of that kind of rhetoric from Carter and the Democrats.

“If I were in the Carter camp I’d be wanting to emphasize that this is a persistent cloud that follows Deal around,” Durham said. “He has just always sort of been hounded by accusations and can’t seem to get away from it.”


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