As former DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer confronts federal criminal charges, her office will remain open to provide services to residents of the north end of the county, the DeKalb County interim CEO says.
“Bob Lundsten will remain as constituent service person for District 1,” Lee May told about two dozen residents and city officials gathered to hear him speak in Dunwoody on Aug. 28. The district covers much of north DeKalb County, including Dunwoody, and a significant portion of Brookhaven.
Lundsten, Chief of Staff to Boyer, said he and another District 1 staff member would stay in place until a new commissioner is elected.
They will deal with constituent concerns, pass political opinions and issues on to other commissioners, and prepare the office for the next elected commissioner, he said. “We’ll make sure everything is ready for the new commissioner when they step in.”
Federal prosecutors on Aug. 26 accused Boyer of misusing county money and a county purchasing card. They said she conspired to commit mail fraud and wire fraud. In a press release, they said she was scheduled to plead guilty to the charges on Sept. 3.
Lundsten said he was surprised by the charges, but had no further comment on Boyer’s situation. “I haven’t spoken to her since it happened,” he said.
Federal authorities reportedly reviewing records on the use of purchasing cards by all DeKalb County employees. “I’m in the same situation as every other employee who has had a P-card,” Lundsten said.
The 57-year-old commissioner resigned from her post on Aug. 25, the day before the charges were filed.
“It’s a very hard decision, and I’m heartbroken and saddened, but I need to resign,” she told a Channel 2 reporter. “I’ve betrayed the people and I’ve abused my position of power, and so I feel like I need to do this and publicly acknowledge that I’m ending my position.”
She had represented the district since 1992 and was the sole Republican on the commission. Her current term was due to expire in 2016.
May immediately issued a statement on her resignation. “Recent news stories notwithstanding, Elaine Boyer has faithfully served the constituents of District 1 and DeKalb County for over 20 years,” May’s statement said. “It is my sincere hope that her resignation will allow the healing process to begin and open the door for a new voice on the Board of Commissioners. I wish her the best.”
County election officials scheduled a special election on Nov. 4 to choose a new commissioner. The special election will be held on the same day as the general election that already is scheduled.
In Dunwoody, May joked that the election may attract a large number of candidates. “Everyone and their mama is going to want to run for this seat because it’s been occupied for 20 years,” he said.
The DeKalb Board of Registrations and Elections said any candidate interested in the position may file a notice of intention to run with county elections officials from 8:30 a.m. Sept. 8 through noon Sept. 10. Candidates may file for the seat at the office of the DeKalb County Board of Registrations and Elections, 4380 Memorial Drive, Decatur, 30032. The fee to qualify is $1,151.24, the county said.
Former DeKalb School Board member Nancy Jester announced she plans to run for the seat. She planned to kick off her campaign on Sept. 4.
Federal authorities say Boyer paid $78,000 to a consultant who then funneled 75 percent of the money back to her personal bank account.
“From September 2009 to November 2011, false invoices were submitted to Ms. Boyer’s office for consulting services purportedly rendered by [the] advisor…,” the U.S. Attorney’s office said in the press release. “Between September 2009 and November 2011, [the] advisor deposited more than $58,000 in DeKalb County funds into Ms. Boyer’s personal bank account (while retaining the remainder of the money).
“In turn, Ms. Boyer used the money deposited into her account to pay personal expenses, including purchases at hotels and high-end department stores.”
Federal authorities say Boyer also made more than 50 purchases, including airline tickets and hotel rooms for personal travel, using her county Visa Purchasing Card. “In total, she made over $15,000 worth of purchases on her P-Card for personal goods and services,” the press release said.
U.S. Attorney Sale Quillian Yates said that as a commissioner, Boyer made a commitment to serve the best interests of DeKalb residents.
“Instead of honoring that commitment,” Yates said in a press release, “Ms. Boyer stole from the citizens she was sworn to serve by diverting thousands of dollars in county funds to her personal bank account and using her county-issued credit card like it was her own.”