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News Nearby: Bribery 'Common' in Gwinnett, Former Commissioner Says

Here's a look at the top stories from around the region.

 

– Cartersville Patch

A former Bartow magistrate clerk has been accused of stealing money from the county for more than two years.

Penny D. Blackmon, 52, now of Lawley, AL, was arrested by a Bartow County Sheriff's Office deputy yesterday about 2:30 p.m., Sgt. Jonathan Rogers said.

Blackmon faces 116 counts of theft by taking from a government employee for alleged thefts spanning from January 2003 to August 2005, according to the indictment, which was handed down by Bartow's August grand jury in case specially presented by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Visit Cartersville Patch for more on this story.

Former Gwinnett County Commissioner Says Bribery Was 'Common'Suwanee Patch

Former Gwinnett County Commissioner Shirley Lasseter has said in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that bribery was a common practice in Gwinnett County.

Lasseter, whose district included Suwanee, is slated to enter federal prison soon after pleading guilty and being sentenced to serve 33 months in prison for accepting bribes in 2011 from an undercover FBI agent to approve a proposed development in her commission district. Visit Suwanee Patch for more on this story.

Man Found Shot, Killed Inside Car At Flat Shoals Road Apartment Complex – WSBTV.com

DeKalb County police are looking for an individual who shot and killed a man inside his Jaguar at the Vineyard of Flat Shoals apartments early Sunday morning.

Channel 2 Action News reported that the shooting occurred shortly before 5 a.m. at the complex located off Flat Shoals Road and left Demarco Booker dead as a result of several gunshot wounds.

According to the news agency, friends and family of Booker, who suffered multiple gunshots to his face, had gathered outside his home at the Highlands at East Atlanta Apartments on Sunday morning looking for answers. Visit WSBTV.com for more on this story.

Atlanta region sees spike in public corruption cases – AJC.com

A county commissioner swaps her vote for $30,000 in casino chips. A public works supervisor demands $18,000 from a construction contractor looking for county work. A detention officer pockets more than $26,000 to help distribute drugs at the jail.

These former metro Atlanta officials are now convicts.

An analysis of federal crime statistics by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows the number of public corruption convictions here has spiked in recent years. The federal judicial district that includes metro Atlanta now ranks among the top districts in the country in corruption convictions, the newspaper found. Visit AJC.com for more on this story.

Fulton elections department to get help from a criticAJC.com

To help make sure Fulton County doesn’t botch another election next month, the elections board has brought in a well-regarded expert with zero tolerance for bureaucratic incompetence, and whose opinions the board hasn’t always wanted to hear.

When he was elections supervisor in Forsyth County, Gary Smith once broke down the door to a precinct when a building manager refused to unlock it. Even though about 100 anxious voters were lined up outside to cast their ballots in the 2004 presidential election, the manager said no one gave him orders to open the county health services building that morning. Visit AJC.com for more on this story.

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