The Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission will hold a preliminary hearing Monday, March 27 at 10 a.m. in a case involving Clayton County District 3 Commissioner Felicia Franklin.

The agency “collects campaign contribution disclosure reports, personal financial disclosure reports and lobbyist disclosure reports” and “serves candidates and elected officials for state and local governments, advises and educates the public on aspects of the Campaign Finance Act, and investigates potential campaign finance violations.”

In September 2022, The Clayton Crescent reported on campaign donations, registered to what appeared to be a nonexistent address in Atlanta, 1111 Smith Street, involving Franklin, former sheriff Victor Hill, and Pirouette Companie, which federal prosecutors proved former CCSO Chief of Staff Mitzi Bickers’ vehicle for money laundering, although the company’s sole owner is her wife, Keyla Jackson.

Campaign contribution disclosure records show that, on March 9, 2020, Hill paid Franklin $1,000. The CCDR listed Hill’s occupation as “business” and his address as 9157 Tara Boulevard, which is the Harold R. Banke Justice Center where CCSO’s offices are.

The following day, March 10, 2022, Hill reportedly paid Franklin $1,000 and paid Pirouette $20,000, citing both as “campaign” expenses. Both Franklin’s and Pirouette’s addresses were listed as 1111 Smith Street.

The Clayton Crescent went to the 1100 block of Smith Street between Metropolitan Avenue and I-75, but did not find any house or lot with that specific address. We also checked Fulton County property tax records and again did not find any such address listed.

Bickers is serving 14 years in federal prison on several charges, including money laundering, conspiracy to commit bribery, wire fraud, and tax evasion, stemming from her involvement in bid-rigging and collecting “up-front money” at Atlanta City Hall. After she was forced to resign for failing to report her outside income from running political campaigns, Hill gave Bickers a job as a corrections officer, then quickly promoted her to a post created especially for her—chief chaplain—and then, while he was suspended from office, chief of staff. Multiple sources alleged that Bickers carried out Hill’s orders while he was suspended.

Hill was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to 18 months on six of seven counts of violating pretrial detainees’ constitutional rights under color of law by strapping the detainees into restraint chairs without cause, in violation of his own policies, and for extended periods of time as a form of punishment.

It’s not clear whether Monday’s case is related to the 1111 Smith Street matter.

The case number is 22-0150-C.

You can see Franklin’s campaign finance and personal financial disclosures—and those of other county-level political candidates and elected officials—on the Clayton County Elections and Registration website.

Robin Kemp is executive editor and CEO of The Clayton Crescent, which she founded in 2020. She has worked for Gambit, CNN, The Weather Channel, Clayton News, Henry Herald, and numerous freelance outlets....

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