Clayton County Commissioner DeMont Davis, who in 2008 was sued over two bounced checks to Landmark Advertising, was fully exonerated of the charges in 2016 by a Gwinnett County judge.
The Clayton Crescent reported last week on anonymous campaign robocalls and e-mails sent to numerous county officials and news organizations that mentioned Davis’ guilty plea, but that did not include the fact that Davis had repaid the debt and completed probation.
Under Georgia’s First Offender Act, a judge ordered Davis’ exoneration. An exoneration is a court order that the recipient has not been convicted of the charge and “shall not be considered to have a criminal conviction.”
The document, dated July 19, 2016, was issued by Gwinnett Superior Judge RT Hamal. It orders that Davis “be discharged without court adjudication of guilt; that this discharge shall completely exonerate the Defendant of any criminal purpose; that this Discharge shall not affect any of said Defendant’s civil rights or liberties; the Defendant shall not be considered to have a criminal conviction; and this discharge may not be used to disqualify a person in any application of employment or appointment to office in either the public or the private sector.”
After inquiries by The Clayton Crescent, the Gwinnett County Clerk of Court’s office updated Davis’ case file with an image of the exoneration page:
Davis issued a statement Tuesday afternoon:
Let me start by saying I am not now, nor have I ever been a convicted felon. It’s not customary that I respond to salacious allegations but felt it was necessary to provide the truth regarding malicious lies. In light of the recent remarks made about me being able to carry out duties to assist the youth, seniors, veterans and all citizens in Clayton County. In continuing to positively move Clayton County forward, I am responding to the false allegations made against me concerning being a felon, criminal and misusing taxpayer dollars
First, I legally meet all qualifications to hold the office of Clayton County Commissioner as stated by Georgia code below:
“Sec. 2-3. – Qualifications of members. Any person, in order to be eligible for membership on the board [of commissioners], must be at least 25 years of age; must have been a bona fide resident and citizen and taxpayer of Clayton County for the two years immediately preceding the date of the election; must be a freeholder in Clayton County by owning land, said land to be in Clayton County; and must be qualified and registered in Clayton County to vote for members of the General Assembly. A member of the board shall be ineligible to hold any other elective office of the county, any city, the State of Georgia, or of the United States, during his term of office on the board.”
(Ga. Laws 1955, p. 2064, § 3; Ga. Laws 1971, p. 3208, § 1; Ga. Laws 1972, p. 2563, § 3)
Yes, I did bounce a check which was paid in FULL. No, I am not a felon.
Second, there was post/text of me in a Willie Wonka suit. Which stated I was misusing taxpayer dollars. What the individual(s) conveniently left out, this was a Halloween event for kids in which churches, and other volunteers participated. We gave away chocolate bars wrapped like Willie Wonka bars, candy and showed the movie Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. Costume, chocolate bars and wrappings, 100%, were all paid by my wife and I, with our personal funds. Our personal funds were also used for all food, books, bags and speakers at the Father/Son Back to School Banquet, the warming shelter building rental to house the homeless, and Senior Lunch & Movie event.
I have served you the past three years with pride, dignity and respect and will continue to do so. I hope this answers the malicious comments. Remember, don’t throw rocks, throw prayers.
Both challengers in the District 4 race, Meia Ballinger and Janice Scott, told The Clayton Crescent that they had not made an Open Records Request to the county. Parts of the request or requests later appeared in Facebook posts by MIXX 106’s Donald “Dee Cee” Craddock.
One of two anonymous robocalls placed to District 4 residents in April also accused Davis’ business partner, Ramona Gilmore, of being “a convicted felon,” which she said was not true. Gilmore said that she thought someone in the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office had accessed her information.
The campaign consulting company of former CCSO Chief of Staff Mitzi Bickers, who was convicted of bribery, money laundering, wire fraud, and filing false tax returns in federal court in March, has been paid $10,500 by Scott’s campaign, according to state campaign finance documents.
According to state campaign finance reports:
- Both Hill ($1,000) and Scott ($100) have contributed to District 1 Commissioner Alieka Anderson’s 2021 campaign
- Anderson’s campaign hired Bickers ($1,500) for campaign calls in 2021
- Hill donated $1,000 to Franklin’s campaign in 2020
- Hill paid Bickers $2,000 in 2011 for political consulting work
- Hill hired Bickers at CCSO after she resigned from the City of Atlanta for failing to disclose her campaign consulting income
- During her tenure at CCSO, Bickers went from $37,708 as a corrections officer in 2016 to more than $130,000 in 2022 as Chief of Staff, even though Bickers was never Georgia POST-certified
Both Scott and Ballinger told The Clayton Crescent that they had not placed the open records requests that led to the Facebook posts about Davis.