ADDS online record of county taxes paid through 2022; ADDS links to Georgia Constitution, Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.), Georgia tax liens; ADDS unpaid taxes as disqualifying to run for or hold office

Georgia Department of Revenue online records show that Clayton County District 3 Commissioner Felicia Franklin has several tax liens dating back to 2018 on her Jonesboro home. Yet on March 4, 2020, Franklin swore in her Declaration of Candidacy and Affidavit that she owed no state taxes—which carries a felony false statements penalty for those who file the affidavit.

Under state law, unpaid taxes disqualify a candidate from running for or holding office, unless the candidate has made arrangements or a payment plan with the Department of Revenue. At the time Franklin ran for reelection, she still owed two years’ back taxes to the state, and she owed a third year after the election:

The affidavit reads in part, “I am not a defaulter for any federal, state, county, municipal or school system taxes required of such officeholder or candidate if such person has been finally adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction to owe those taxes, but such ineligibility may be removed at any time by full payment thereof, or by making payments to the tax authority pursuant to a payment plan, or under such other conditions as the General Assembly may provide by general law (pursuant to Ga. Const. Art. II, Sec. II, paragraph III); I will not knowingly violate any provisions fo the Georgia Election Code (O.C.G.A. § 21-2) or the rules or regulations adopted thereunder…”

Franklin was reelected while she owed the State of Georgia $4,761.30 in taxes and a total of $5,074. As of press time, online tax lien records show Franklin still owes that money to the Georgia Department of Revenue. Attempts to reach Franklin by phone, e-mail, and in person before press time were unsuccessful.

Franklin, who frequently lectures county staff and other commissioners on “fiduciary responsibility,” also has a case pending in June before the Georgia Ethics Commission about numerous campaign expenditures and payments. Franklin’s case was to have been heard at the March meeting until she obtained counsel the night before to bump the hearing to the next quarterly meeting.

According to the Georgia Department of Revenue, the state put a lien of $2,696.28 on Franklin’s Jonesboro home on May 23, 2022. A payment of $2,823.85 is due on May 23, 2023, with interest to accrue after that date:

Franklin’s home has another Georgia tax lien for $2,065.02 dated January 28. That payment of $2,251.14 is due on May 23 to avoid additional interest:

Franklin’s Clayton County taxes show as having been paid through 2022.

Recently, Franklin lectured a forensic auditor from Mauldin and Jenkins, David Roberts, after he presented findings that BOC and department head travel expenses, as well as commissioner aide expense records were “inconsistent.” Some of Franklin’s travel and aide expenses were among those that came under scrutiny. While dressing down Roberts during the public meeting, Franklin asserted that she herself had had experience as an internal auditor. The Clayton Crescent was not able to confirm Franklin’s claim and Franklin did not respond to our request for more information about when, where, and for whom she had performed in that capacity.

Franklin, who is employed as an insurance agent, briefly held an active Georgia real estate license. According to the Georgia Real Estate Commission, Franklin passed the licensing exam but failed to complete education requirements. She was licensed as a salesperson on August 3, 2018. The following year, on August 4, 2019, Franklin’s license was listed as “lapsed-education not completed.” On August 17, 2020, her license was reinstated as active until May 25, 2022. That day, her license reverted to inactive status through May 31, 2022. On June 1, 2022, her license was listed as “failed to renew-lapsed.”

The Clayton Crescent attempted to contact Franklin by voicemail message, e-mail, and in person at BOC headquarters. According to the receptionist, Franklin’s constituent aide, Kayla Collier, said Franklin was out sick.

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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