Corruption, Fraud and Cover Up in Fulton County?

7:40 PM, Dec 3, 2010   |    comments
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  • 37 year old Fulton County Employee Nicola Hosier facing criminal charges for diverting County funds to her personal business.
  • Booking photo from Fulton County. Hosier faces 15 criminal charges.
    

ATLANTA -- Fulton County employee Nicola Hosier had a perplexed look on her face when 11Alive's Center for Investigative Action team knocked on her door in Fayetteville.  We were there because she's accused of diverting more than $150,000 of county taxpayer money to her own events planning business. 

"Who are you?" she asked. When we told her why we were there, she closed the door.

What led us to her door were allegations contained in more than 1,000 pages of documents pointing fingers at several county employees accusing them of theft, fraud, corruption and even using perceived positions of power to illicit sexual favors.

Two county employees, who exposed the alleged corruption, are suing Fulton County, claiming the County officials tried to silence them about the fraud until after the November elections. They claim when they tried to take it to the District Attorney in July, they were punished for it.

Gwendolyn Warren claims she was fired in July and Maria Colon says she was demoted and her pay was cut nearly in half. Both women say they were hired by Fulton County Manager Zachary Williams and had worked for him before him in Broward County, FL.  Williams put Warren in charge of Fulton County's new Office of Professional Standards in 2008 with a mandate to investigate corruption, waste and fraud. Colon was an investigator in the office, which was closed in July. 

Two days after the November election, Department of Human Services employee Nicola Hosier was charged with 15 criminal counts following allegations that she diverted homeless shelter funds to pay for lavish parties at her business, Exquisite Events.

"We can't believe employees whose jobs it was to bring evidence of fraud and abuse did their job [and] instead of saying thank you for saving taxpayers' money, like $168 ,000 in just one of the cases, what did they get [was] fired and demoted," said attorney Lee Parks.

Fulton County attorney David Ware responded stating, "Neither of the plaintiffs in these lawsuits are whistleblowers". He said, "The Act was never designed to allow disgruntled employees to wage war against a public employer."

While this all plays out in court, we'll continue to investigate the claims made in the more than 1,500 pages of documents handed to us by the plaintiff's attorney.

To read the allegations in Warren's Complaint click here.

To read the allegations in Colon's Complaint, click here.

To read Fulton County's Response, click here. 

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