Sharon Barnes Sutton Arrested, Charged

Former DeKalb County Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton was arrested by the FBI at her home Tuesday. According to the AJC, she “…is in the process of being released from custody on a $25,000 unsecured bond.”

This appears to be some weird sort of i-dotting and t-crossing by the Public Integrity Section. Sutton’s lawyer claims she offered to turn herself in, but eventually appeared in shackles before a federal judge, who released her on an unsecured bond. She is charged with accepting $1,000 in bribes five years ago. In DeKalb County, that’s just table stakes, and doesn’t seem an amount worth arresting and shackling someone over.

From court documents, it appears that these shenanigans relate to the contracts awarded to the contractor and subcontractors in charge of the $10.2 million (later $17 million) expansion of the Snapfinger Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The indictment alleges that Sutton, as chair of the DeKalb Board’s committee on Finance, Audit, and Budget, was in a position to influence contract awards. Current DeKalb Commissioner Jeff Rader said as much in a statement: “She and the members of that committee regularly held important contracts for long periods without recommendation or explanation, and a majority of the Commission honored their recommendation.”

So, in a position to increase a contract by $7 million, Sharon Barnes Sutton allegedly accepted a mere $1,000 in bribes? No DeKalb taxpayer is shocked that the county’s public officials can be bought -we just didn’t know they were so cheap.

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