Day 3 of Burrell Ellis' retrial features more samples of secret - CBS46 News

Day 3 of Burrell Ellis' retrial features more samples of secret recordings

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Day three of testimony in the retrial of suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis featured more secretly-recorded audio clips, demonstrating Ellis' conduct in dealing with vendors and asking for campaign contributions.

Ellis is accused of soliciting money from county contractors like National Property Institute (NPI) and, in some cases, threatening to end their deal.

Thursday morning the prosecution team questioned Dr. Greg Shealey, an employee of NPI.

"I said, 'We may have to send a campaign contribution or we may face the death penalty of our company,'" testified Shealey.

He said he told another employee with the company that he thought Ellis was going to end NPI's million dollar contract during a meeting in October of last year, because the staff was being unresponsive.

"He [Ellis] said several times, 'You hung up on me, I called you...he said he called her, I think approximately 17 times,'" said Dr. Shealey.

"So he said 17 times? What did he say?" asked the prosecutor.

"[Ellis said] 'I don't know if I should be doing business with you,'" responded Shealey.

The asset manager called another meeting with Ellis.

"I was giving the history of the company, our background, our record, awards that we've received," Dr. Shealey.

After leaving that meeting Dr. Shealey said he was lined with uncertainty, and decided to try to save his $1 million contract by contributing to Ellis' campaign.

He also made it clear that Ellis never directly asked him for money, but that he felt compelled to give.

"I feel like I made the contribution with someone twisting my arm and stepping on my neck," said Shealey, who wound up giving $2,500 to Ellis' 2012 re-election campaign.

One of Ellis' senior staff members, Chris Morris, said she was called into a meeting with Ellis in the fall of 2012 to talk about why NPI was not being more responsive.  That conversation was secretly recorded by another of Ellis' staffers.  In that exchange, Ellis can be heard talking directly about NPI.

"I don't have a good reason why I should want to continue to do business with them," said Ellis in the audio recording.

"I asked her (NPI's owner) if she could make a campaign contribution, which is why I called."

"She didn't respect this office, and what we do here."

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