Star prosecution witness testifies in corruption retrial of DeKa - CBS46 News

Star prosecution witness testifies in corruption retrial of DeKalb County CEO

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DECATUR, GA (CBS46) - Former DeKalb County purchasing director Kelvin Walton returned to the stand Tuesday in the corruption retrial of his former boss.

The original trial against DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis ended in a hung jury last fall.

Walton testified that he helped Ellis shake down county contractors for campaign contributions. He said Ellis also pressured him to give to the campaign himself.

"My impression was that I needed to give to him or else I would be a Lisa Chang," said Walton, referring to the former county attorney.

"What do you mean be a Lisa Chang?" asked a prosecutor.

“It was time for me to step down,” answered Walton.

Walton wore a wire for investigators, secretly recording many conversations he had with Ellis. During one recorded conversation, the two discussed companies that had done business with the county. At one point during the meeting, Ellis took a call from a construction company representative.

"She just called and said we have another thousand dollar check for you," Ellis told Walton, who then reminded Ellis that the construction company had just gotten county approval for a $15 million contract.

"So they should bring me another $2,000," Ellis told Walton.

Prosecutors are trying to prove that Ellis and certain vendors had a 'pay to play' understanding.

"Once I would tell him I got them (the company) paid, he would say, ‘I'm going to reach back out to them.' He would call them and state that he received a check in that amount and (would then ask), ‘When are you going to send me a campaign contribution?'”

Ellis continues to maintain his innocence. The trial is expected to continue for at least a couple more weeks.

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