DeKalb workers testify Burrell Ellis demanded contractor lists - CBS46 News

DeKalb workers testify Burrell Ellis demanded contractor lists

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Several DeKalb County employees testified Friday they spent extensive hours each month pulling together lists of county contractors for suspended CEO Burrell Ellis.

Ellis is accused of strong-arming vendors to contribute to his campaign or risk losing county work. He faces charges of bribery and extortion, among others.

Workers testified Ellis wanted the names and phone numbers of every vendor the county did business with. 

They told the court Ellis found one phone number that was incorrect, so they were then required to personally call every company on the list to verify the number was accurate.

"It was cumbersome," testified Imani Husbands, an employee in the purchasing department. "I did not want to work on this list."

The defense pointed out that Ellis never personally asked the workers to compile the vendor list. Prosecutors said the CEO used the list to contact contractors and ask them for campaign donations.

"It was more important than anything I had to do," Husbands said. "Whatever I had on my plate had to be put on the back burner until it was done. I could not go home until I completed the task."

Workers said compiling the vendor list took time away from their other responsibilities.

"When the vendor list was being produced, was it during your work hours for the county? " asked District Attorney Robert James.

"Yes," replied Kelvin Walton, the director of purchasing.  

"And when your staff members produced the vendor list was it during their work hours for the county?" asked James.

"Yes," replied Walton.

"And your work hours again, they're paid by whom, the taxpayers or the defendant?" James asked.

"The taxpayers," Walton responded. 

Testimony resumes Monday morning.

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