During the 2012 campaign for re-election Republican Candidate Sam Smiley discovered that the Democrat incumbent had violated campaign ethics, more than once. Smiley filed two complaints.
In 2012 the complaint alleges that Resurgens Risk Management hosted a campaign fundraiser for Nesbitt. Nesbitt failed to include that "in-kind" expense on the campaign disclosure. Following the fundraiser Nesbitt pushed and successfully changed the Rockdale County's benefits management company to Resurgens. This change was made while in the middle of the contract with the now previous vendor.
The second complaint, a less serious violation, was the distribution of "campaign cards" that were created. These cards were based on and included the officer holder's address and other contact information. The violation is that campaigns can not use public property or resources to support a political campaign. This includes receiving mail, email, or telephone calls at the public office.
The Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission did not conduct a hearing as Nesbitt agreed to disposition of the case through a consent order. In short, the Commission identified five violations by Nesbitt. They included late filing of the 2013 PFDS, refusal to account for the Resurgens in-kind contribution, using the county address and employee contact information on official campaign material, and failure to file the PFDS for the year of 2011.
NNN reached out to both Mr. Nesbitt and Mr. Smiley for comment and our requests not not immediately returned. We did uncover a public commissioners' meeting where the issue on changing providers to Resurgens was hotly contested and passed along partisan lines. Commissioner Van Ness stated her reservations with the "tainting of the process" among other factors. The meeting is available below
Mr. Nesbitt is no stranger to criminal, policy, or ethics violations. In 2005 Mr. Nesbitt was arrested by Dekalb County wih allegations of writing a bad check, and terminated as a LEO for allegations of groping a college student detained for questioning. The featured image in this article is that mug-shot from the Dekalb arrest. He was also arrested for domestic violence in 2011 while serving as a commissioner. He won an easy victory as Rockdale County's Board of Commissioner Chairman in November 2016.. The facts will be published by NNN in a future article as we complete our research on the facts. If you have information to contribute regarding the Rockdale County Government, Board of Commissioners, Chairman, of these issues, please let us know.
NNN will update the story with comments from Mr. Nesbitt and Mr. Smiley if they become available.
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