Wednesday, May. 6, 2015    Login | Register           

Former Mayor Brown a con man with trail of ethics problems

Commissioner Jack Smith has made some decisions I haven’t agreed with, but I believe him to be honest and genuinely concerned about the county and its citizens. He will receive my support in the primary election for county commission.

Steve Brown is another story all together. Brown is very personable, but so is a con man. He talks a good game, but so does a con man. And just like a con man, Brown is out for what he can get for himself. We know, similar to a con man, Mayor Brown was ethically challenged.

An ethics complaint was filed against Mayor Brown for having a city employee, his executive assistant, pick up his child from lessons during work hours. An ethics board found him guilty. He’d also bring his two daughters to City Hall and abandon them in a conference room for hours without checking on them. Concerned city employees would check on the neglected girls. Brown chose to make the part-time mayor’s position full-time.

Mayor Brown refused to sign an amendment to the Intergovernmental Agreement with the Peachtree City Development Authority that City Council had lawfully approved. Brown then illegally stopped contractual payments of hotel/motel tax revenues to the authority without the required council approval.

Peachtree City has a moratorium on annexations. The moratorium prohibits city employees, which includes the mayor, working with a developer until authorized by council. Mayor Brown disregarded that directive and worked intimately with Wieland Development on an annexation plan of over 300 acres in the West Village. Brown’s reasoning: he had stepped out of his mayoral shoes and was just a private citizen.

Mayor Brown opposed the 2004 Transportation SPLOST referendum for one reason: he didn’t agree with the revenue distribution. State law prohibits elected officials from advocating a voter referendum. Brown had Comcast tape his opposition message in their studio, edit it and air it on one of their channels. Again Brown claimed he had stepped out of his mayoral shoes and did the spot as a private citizen.

At the time of the taping, Comcast was beginning negotiations with the city to renew their franchise agreement. The tape provided by Comcast was clearly marked with “Mayor Brown” on the jacket, the label and at the beginning of the tape.

An ethics complaint was filed with the state Ethics Board, which they thought serious enough to hear. Brown prevailed after Comcast said they’d taped the piece for him as a private individual.

Steve Brown is a good activist and an alright columnist. Look beyond his words to his actions. He just doesn’t have the character to be a community leader.

John Dufresne

Bagram, Afghanistan

Location: 

Comments

Steve Brown's picture

For the record, the author of this letter, John Dufresne, was an ardent Harold Logsdon supporter and volunteer who used the same tactics when I ran for re-election.

Dufresne was also a member of a developer political action committee (PAC) called Direct PAC who tried every trick in the book to attack me.

As for the "ethics complaint was filed against Mayor Brown for having a city employee, his executive assistant, pick up his child from lessons during work hours." I, Steve Brown, personally filed that ethics complaint against myself 45-minutes after the incident occurred. I had to attend a meeting to negotiate sales tax revenue on behalf of the cities of Fayette County. My assistant, her letter on the matter appeared in this newspaper, knew I had a schedule conflict and volunteered to shuttle my daughter from a nearby lesson to help me out. Unfortunately, she did not get permission from her supervisor to take the time off. When I found this out on my return, I filed the complaint against myself and repaid the city the less than $9.00 owed for the time.

As for the trashy comment, "He’d also bring his two daughters to City Hall and abandon them in a conference room for hours without checking on them. Concerned city employees would check on the neglected girls," this is the absolute LOWEST I have every seen anyone go in a Fayette County election. This is a pathetic way to try to win an election!

On the Intergovernmental Agreement, we hired outside special legal counsel who concluded the agreement had been switched because the new agreement contained language the previous city council did not have when they voted to approve the agreement. The Development Authority complied with the agreement and were later proven to be part of one of the largest scandals in Fayette County history involving the authority and the Peachtree National Bank.

Yes, I did oppose the 2004 Transportation SPLOST, nothing wrong with that. Yes, I did express my personal opinions in a North Atlanta studio on a Comcast channel, perfectly legal and Constitutional. What Dufresne neglects to tell the reader is that he is the one who filed the ethics complaint against me on behalf of the developer PAC, Direct PAC, at the time I was running against his candidate Harold Logsdon.

Not only did the entire State Ethics Commission staff say there was "no merit at all" to Dufresne's complaint, but the chairman of the commission apologized to me. Dufresne would not know these details because he did not have the guts to show-up to the commission hearing for his own complaint.

Congratulations John Dufresne. You have taken Jack Smith's political campaign to the very depths of trashy politics.

hutch866's picture

In this same issue of the paper you slam Smith over and over. What is the difference between what you're doing and what is being done to you. Wouldn't this be called campaigning? Can't have it both ways Stevie. BTW, I don't say this because I'm voting for Smith, he has less chance for my vote then you do, in fact as far as I'm concerned, I think there should be a third option, the DO OVER option. Oh well, I guess I'll just write in Git, or David's Mom, or Mike King.

I yam what I yam

Not a bad idea Hutch--"GIT REAL" for Commissioner" does have a nice ring to it--but would folks vote for a successful Small Business Owner? Especially one not afraid to tell it like it is.

Dufresne, you are a disgrace to the uniform!!! You when start going after people's children, you deserve what you've got coming.

Maybe Hutch ought to read Brown's letter again. He never went after Smith's children and he's got his sources listed.

If Smith comes out and denounces this kind of crap, I'll just hold it over Dufresne's block head. Pretty easy to slander someone from Afghanistan ain't it Dufresne?

hutch866's picture

I don't need to read anything again, same crap, different degree, MAYBE. Like I said, no one to vote for in that race. BTW, I didn't read it as going after Brown's kids, just critical of his care of them, different subject altogether. You vote the one you like, to me they're just different cheeks on the same butt.

I yam what I yam

[quote=hutch866]to me they're just different cheeks on the same butt.[/quote]

It's funny 'cause it's true. At least we know what we have if these two guys meet in the middle.

mbest's picture

or Linda Wells or one of them? I hope you'll answer that. If you were nuff said

birdman's picture

I just have to weigh in....You call John Dufresne a "disgrace?" ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!!! John worked for a very long time volunteering to enter into our fight against terrorism.... many of us have sons or daughters who are over there as we speak. How dare you suggest that someone who serves our country should not stay involved in what is going on at home. They are the ones who give you, me, and Steve Brown our right of free speech. John did not represent himself as a "soldier." It was ksig12 who pointed it out. John was no more "fishing for pats on the back" than I am. As for "going after [Brown's] children.." Poppycock! He is simply stating a fact. Brown did take his children to work because he made the mayorship a fulltime job and he was a stay at home dad. He would go into meetings while leaving his children in the care of office staff. This is common knowledge and partly what led to his ethics problem. As for him filing his own complaint, yes...that is true. In fact he demanded a full ethics hearing saying that if he didn't, DirecPac would demand it. Fact is NO ONE in DirectPac was going to do that. What Brown did though was spend a lot of city money to stand up and publicly accuse numerous individuals, by name, of a variety of things (find the transcript and read it). When those people tried to respond they were denied the opportunity as they weren't on the "witness list" to testify. Since Brown was both the accused and the accuser, he masterfully had full control of the witness list and entire event and used it to his best.
All of the events in Dufresnes letter were fact. As for the comments of "trash politics..." Browns entire campaign has been allegations, innuendo, and outright attacks on his opponent. Case in point from Browns own letter:

"Commissioner Smith tried to cover his tracks by saying he would excuse himself from the portions of bank board meetings when there was a conflict of interest. The problem with that is neither the public nor the news media is allowed in the private Bank of Georgia board meetings."

He is directly accusing Smith of "conflict of interest." No evidence, no ethics charge, no investigation, only the accusation. Typical Brown.

Brown states Smith publicly opposes something then votes for it. Well, Steve did the same thing...over and over. Dufresne points out one big issue...Annexation. Brown campaigned as the anti-annexation candidate, then during an annexation moratorium he quietly negotiated with Wieland Homes. When confronted he stated he was acting as "citizen Brown." Really? Suppose Wieland would discuss at numerous meetings with "any old citizen?" Hmm.

You see, we aren't developers, we are citizens. Brown was horrible for PTC and will be horrible for the county. Vote as you may, but standby. Brown will certainly be the most entertaining Commissioner since he has an ego as large as the world, will attack all opponents viciously, and will harass his fellow commissioners with attacks rarely seen.
As for John Dufresne, he is still an American and afforded all rights even if he is serving our country.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

John D. recruited me to be an officer in Direct Pac, I declined, but there were no developers there then or in any of the meetings I attended later. Your developer obsession is unhealthy. Get a life.

John has also outlined the problems that normal people have with your documented, on the record, verified public life. He missed a few things, but God knows there are enough there already. You were not and are not a leader. You are a self-involved cheap shot artist with no reason for being in the arena of public ideas. All hat, no cattle as they say in Texas.

BTW, John is a volunteer second time for the war against terrorism and he puts himself up there on the front line and is a true American hero. If you choose to bad mouth him, you are badmouthing me and Lt. Berchinski and Lt. Collins and hundreds of others Fayette County veterens who have proudly served.

I'd rather stick with Jack Smith and the stupid West Fayette Bypass (although I am really opposed to this) than have an un-American attack dog like you sitting up there on the Fayette Couny Commission. I think you just nailed yourself in your future coffin.

Live free or die!

Mr. Brown is bad mouthing Lt. Berchinski and Lt. Collins and hundreds of other Fayette County veterans. Mr. Brown made no comment about Mr. D.'s service to his country and he certainly did not malign him or any other service personnel. What Mr. Brown did was to reply to allegations made by Mr. D., no more and no less. It is commendable that Mr. D. has volunteered a second time to serve his country and is, as you state, a true American hero. But one has nothing to do with the other and for you to indicate it does, reflectly badly on you.

Good for him for volunteering but don't toss the word "hero" around so easily. Most folks don't really understand what a real "hero" is, it's just a convenient word to use when you want to put someone on a pedestal or attempt to overcome something NOT so heroic by an individual. Dufresne should be careful he doesn't violate Articles 10, 2, & 18 of US Code that restricts active duty personnel from certain political activities.

Citizen Bob's picture

JD didn't attend the hearing for his own complaint? I could spend time speculating about his motives, but I'd rather focus down range on significant issues that are going to impact our county. Like listening to Fayette citizens thoughts about large, disruptive, & expensive projects, and whether or not the county should impose $135m in SPLOST, and ...

PS: I served 28 years in the Army, and Brown's response doesn't bother me at all.

R.J. Ross

No developers in the direct pac? Rex Green of Group VI is an officer. Rick Schlosser formerly of PCDC and now a commercial broker is an officer. They were the leaders of the bunch. Get a life Morgan.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Rex worked for Photo Circuts (not a developer) when Direct Pac was formed and joined Group VI as a Broker long after Direct Pac was folded. Rick worked for PCDC (definitely a developer) until 1995 and when Direct Pac was formed in 2003, he had been an independent broker for 8 years. Newsflash: being a Broker is not the same as being a developer. Brown (not having any work experience) may not know that, but you should.

Jim Stinson (airline pilot), Jim Steinbach (retired military), Carol Fritz (former councilperson), Jim Cole (travel agent), Michael Rossetti (builder - BTW, builder is not the same as developer), Doug Warner (attorney), Floy Farr (legendary banker - again, not a developer), Robin Lorber (real estate agent and dreamboat), Tim Kaigler (dentist), Bob Truitt (accountant) and of course Rex, Rick and John and several incumbent politicans who did not want to be named (but their initials are BL AMcM, BB and GD) and 100 others (none of whom were actually developers) were at the first few meetings and they were seriously united on one issue - getting Steve Brown out of office ASAP. The ethics thing was way over the top, but that simply showed their frustration.

The overall goal was to get someone to beat Brown and that worked (Thank God) and after that Direct Pac went away.

And for the record, Direct Pac did not endorse Logsdon, they interviewed all 6 people running against the incumbent Brown and concluded that Boswell and Logsdon would be OK. No direct endorsement of Logsdon - even though he was certainly a better mayor that Brown, but of course all of them were.

Live free or die!

hutch866's picture

Gee whiz Steve, I was serious with my question, why when you slam someone it's campaigning, but when they slam you it's character assassination? Of course if you don't want to answer that's ok, I understand sometimes it's hard to defend a position. BTW, did you notice there's two ass's in assassination, just wondering which one you are, the first ass or the second?

I yam what I yam

hutch866's picture

Still no answer, nothing to say? Can't defend your position? When you slammed the judges here in Fayette, was that campaigning? Come on Steve let me hear from you, of course if you can't justify your rants just say so. Come on Steve, it just little old me from Fayetteville, remember Fayetteville, just 10% of us vote, but according to you, we're the reason the transportation SPLOST was voted in. Come on Steve, grow a pair and lets converse. Maybe you only converse with the PTC people, yeah that's the ticket, right.

I yam what I yam

ginga1414's picture

You are not talking about the Steve Brown I know. The Steve Brown I know just spent an entire week taking Fayette County students to Chicago to participate in the Science Olympiad. The Steve Brown I know is extremely concerned with his children. The Steve Brown I know has talked to my husband and me about taking his girls to their different activities and watching them participate in those activities. I dare say that Steve Brown and his wife know where their girls are and what they are doing at any given moment. Mr. Dufresne, can you say the same thing? I know plenty of Dads who never attend any activities their children are in involved in, let alone taking an entire group of kids to Chicago to participate in a function as great as the National Science Olympiad. That doesn't sound like a father who neglects his children to me.

You can make anything sound ugly, Mr. Dufresne. Steve Brown and all his supporters have diligently tried to stick to the issues. You are going beyond the point of sleeze, Mr. Dufresne. You are bringing innocent children into an adult arena. It seems to me that if you were truly concerned for the welfare of Mr. Brown's children, you wouldn't hurt them by talking trash about their father to the public. The very idea! I can't believe anyone would stoop so low as to hurt two little girls.

Leave Steve Brown's children out of this. Stick to the issues.

mbest's picture

Don't show the kid the newspaper.
"The very idea!" Who are you Mrs. Drysdale? This is a place where adult topics are discussed. Nothing derogatory was said about those kids. Grow up or get out.

ginga1414's picture

Do you know anything at all about children? Both of my children are adopted. Children talk to each other about each other. When my daughter was in the sixth grade one of her classmates asked her, "Who is your real
mother?" My daughter replied, "My mother is my real mother." The classmate said, "No she isn't. My mother said that you are adopted, and the people you live with aren't your real parents!" That is how some
children talk to each other. Children hear what their parents talk about. Children are influenced by what their parents talk about and they mimic what their parents say. It isn't a matter of not letting children read newspapers or hear the news on television. It is a matter of adults setting an example for children to follow.

Mr. Dufresne's letter is a prime example of how adults shouldn't behave when it comes to children. Children should never ever enter into the equation of adult conversations and issues, but especially in a public forum. Children are impacted by what is said about their parents. My child was very much impacted by what someone said about her parents. Even though my child knew that she was adopted, it still upset her a great deal. The next day, my daughter told her classmate, "My parents are just as real as your parents." Children shouldn't be put in the position of having to defend their own parents.

Knowing Mr. Brown to be an involved parent when it comes to his children, Mr. Dufresne just tells me that the whole premise of his letter was to intimidate and sensationalize. He obviously knew that the quickest and easiest way to get to Mr. Brown was to bring his children into the equation.

Dondol's picture

If you will remember back to the election race between Steve Brown & Harold Logsdon the developer group did the same thing as is happening now, they told Lies and drug him through the mud. Looks like the same old guard has come back to life. We just have to keep telling the truth and try to diffuse the Lies. Keep the Faith!

suggarfoot's picture

This is all about development and greed. That by pass to no where, goes past 3 schools.

Move traffic? Has something changed or isn't the speed limit around the schools 25mph during morning rush hour?

The schools and the bypass were to go hand and hand. Look at who owns the land around Rivers and who owns the land along the bypass. It isn't hard todo, go to the Fayette county government web site and pull up the tax map.

While you are at it. Look at all the land the BOE owns now. No wonder the guy wantinng land donated for the horse park? farm? kitty ride? whatever..ASKED FOR IT... we clearly have land coming out our ears!

mbest's picture

Apparently he's a crook.

mudcat's picture

I think you are saying Smith is a crook and acknowledging Brown is a con man. If so, I'm encouraging everyone to vote for the crook - besides his crimes are not that bad. Prefer that to 4 years of Mr. "all about me"

Can't you all just read between the lines of his response and see what a shallow fool he is? I'm glad some of you praise Brown for taking care of his kids and having the time to participate in all their activities as if that has something to do with how he would perform as a county commissioner. For that we only have to look at how he performed as mayor of PTC. No thanks. Don't need any more of that. Let's ensure that Mr. Brown has plenty of time after the election to raise his kids.

mbest's picture

You followed the thread (and my comment) incorrectly. I was saying that if the allegations in the previous blogs were true then Brown is more than a con man, it would make him a crook (keeping in mind that I have no idea if they are true or not.) I would never call Smith a crook, everything I've heard and read about him leads me to believe he is a straight arrow. His detractors don't even accuse him of anything that would bring him personal gain (although now that I've said that they probably will) The Brown outfit reads like a pretty mudslinging bunch.

Citizen Bob's picture

When your candidate is weak on issues, don't discuss them, simply avoid them.

After a 3:1 trouncing by voters who rejected your SPLOST, certainly avoid defending it and the many projects that taxpayers would have had to pay an additional $135m for.

And keep in the background all discussion of big spending ($50m) on a road that's supposed to serve high density commutes, but terminates on a back road with no direct access to major arterials (and wasn't supported by GA or the feds).

Also stay away from 11% pay raises given to your county attorney, especially when an open records request for his annual performance appraisal is returned without any such appraisal.

Etc, etc, etc.

Sometimes, you just gotta play the hand you're dealt...

R.J. Ross

You don't pull out people like John Dufresne unless you can't defend your political campaign based on your voting record. Smith has got problems with the bypass and the MARTA bus voting. I agree with Citizen Bob, the SPLOST was a sure sign the people don't want what Smith and his buddies have to offer.

Steve doesn't need to be defensive because people aren't going believe the junk John Dufresne is saying anyway.

NUK_1's picture

First off, you're totally wrong as usual if you don't think some people are going to believe it, because some voters cannot stand Steve Brown period. If that isn't crystal-clear to you and everyone else, welcome to reality where the rest of us reside.

I thought Dufresne was way over the top when he showed up one night with his BUM(Brown Unfit for Mayor) t-shirt and a real fool for running his mouth frequently in letters to the Citizen when his wife was/is working for PTC gov. Talk about putting her in an awkward situation when Brown is Mayor and he's going Defcon4 on him and she has to go see him the next day at the job.

Some of what he states are indeed facts and some of it is slanted and exaggerated. I'm not sure that it will have much "positive" effect for Smith because it comes across as a diatribe and Smith's record ain't too hot either.

This is going to be one lousy race to the bottom.

I assume you know that DEFCON 4 is the next to lowest level, that being 5 and highest being 1. Is that what you meant to say?

NUK_1's picture

I didn't :) Obviously, I had it backwards.

Not unusual for most folks--if I hadn't worked for a number of yrs as a War Planner, I wouldn't know either.

The Wedge's picture

double post :(

The Wedge's picture

Shall we play a game, Dr. Falken? I learned the DEFCON's while watching the movie War Games about three times during the 1980's

I find it hard to believe that you didn't have SOME exposure to DEFCON levels in your military experience.

The Wedge's picture

But I first learned about it in 1983, in my teenage years, watching War Games :)

Seconds too late on my last post. I was right, though.

My guess is that The Wedge was too young to be in the military when this movie came out.

Great movie, though. I think it's time to revisit this one.

mudcat's picture

I always wondered why John was so out there attacking Brown when his wife worked at city hall. I too thought that was inappropriate until I learned all the facts - which were that he was openly inviting her firing for a couple of reasons. One was money - a classic wrongful termination suit with huge punative damages and the other was to establish grounds for the mayor's impeachment. A twofer. Brown didn't take the bait for whatever reason, but what a beautiful trap they set for him.

grassroots's picture

The poppy aroma is getting to his head. Steve Brown is walking on solid ground while Jack Smith is walking in thin ice. His Bank he sits and consults is under Cease and Desist. His stealth ties to the BOE will surface. His illegal meetings with other commissioners is on file at the State Attorney General's office. One more and he's in violation.
See how the vote is going and read the facts at www.SPLOSTPOLL.com

My brother-in-law is in Afghanistan too. Would you like to demoralize him while your at it?

suggarfoot's picture

First it is tacky to attack Steve Brown personally, but hey when you can't defend your candidate's voting record, what else can you do?

Secondly, why give your address as Afghanistan? If you live there, you can't vote. I'm assuming you're inferring your opinion packs more credence, because you are in the army. Sorry, my family members were in the Revolutionary War, Civil war, (wrong side, better luck next time maybe) WW I, WWII, Vietnam... The deal is, your opinion is like everyone else's, we all have one. Because you joined and are being paid to fight over there, presuming that is what you are doing, doesn't make your opinion, anymore valuable.

Mike King's picture

IF the blogger is, in fact, in Afganistan, I would side with you on the fact that his opinion is no more worthy than the next. I simply would place more creedence in it. But, that's just another opinion.

grassroots's picture

The NATO Command said today "We are losing the war in Afghanistan." The Brits want out. The purest form of heroin this country has ever experienced is killing the teenagers on the streets of Philadelphia. The Taliban had eradicated all the poppy fields existing by 2001. (Google it) Now Afghanistan supplies 95% of the worlds heroin and it ain't the Taliban. 8 years and McCrystal has no plan B. Maybe we should swap McCrystal for BP. We'd get the same results. The Lt's and below fight the war and come home with little support. Those above just play politics with their lives.

We of course could have destroyed all of the poppy fields in Afghanistan years ago but chose not to do so. I haven't heard anything official recently either about their demise!
Let me explain why? Suppose the USA was extremely short of oil---maybe the Gulf turns to sludge, or something like that---and the other oil producing countries boycotted us about shipping oil to us.
What would we do? I mean besides have a severe depression!

It is no different in Afghanistan. Heroin is their livelihood just as is oil here. They buy their food with it, pay their public servants with it, and supply a market for the farmers.

Without enough oil we would amount to a total disaster---so would Afghanistan without heroin.

We would have to feed them and pay for their government just as we do Iraq!

grassroots's picture

I've been following the drug /war connection since Vietnam. WE PAY THEM TO GROW IT, (the British too) and it isn't shipped out on donkey's. We protect it, see it through harvest and reap the profits. Go to you tube and see c-140's unloading it. It's a hypocritical disgrace. Their economy had no poppies when we attacked. Now it supplies 95% of worlds heroin. Connect the dots. America is a Drug Lord. That's why no fence at the border. It ain't about the worker bees.

I have heard of the phrase, "religion is the opiate of the masses," let them have it, but never have I heard let us pay them to grow and sell it to USA citizens!

Do we need to stay doped up?
I assumed we got enough false beliefs, thoughts, aspirations, and things to talk about from such as Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Hannity, and two or three false women whose names I can't remember.

Religion has started most of our wars but I suppose dope and oil could start them also.

By the way, I don't expect to last long on here so you better read what I say carefully while you can.

hutch866's picture

Keep throwing out Bonk?

I yam what I yam

S. Lindsey's picture

Just wondering.. No not about throwing you off again... why would we read what you "say" carefully?

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

Dufresne is just one of the old time nut jobs around here, uniform or not. The "BUM" tee shirt was a childish distraction from the adult dialogue. Jevank is right up there too with her court antics.

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