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DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis waives arraignment

9:02 AM, Jul 29, 2013   |    comments
DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis
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DECATUR, Ga. -- Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis waived his appearance before a judge Monday.

Ellis was scheduled for an arraignment on several charges, including extortion. He is accused of using his position and power to force county vendors to contribute to his reelection campaign.

Judge Courtney Johnson said Monday morning that Ellis waived the arraignment and will not appear in court.

RELATED | DeKalb CEO tells employees he's done nothing wrong

Ellis was indicted on 15 counts by a grand jury in June. 

The indictment charges include attempt to commit theft by extortion (4), conspiracy in restraint of free and open competition (1), criminal attempt to commit false statements and writings (2), theft by taking (3), conspiracy to defraud a political subdivision (1), coercion of other employee to give anything of value for political purposes (3) and conspiracy in restraint of free and open competition (1).

MORE | Read the indictment here

Weeks after the indictment, Gov. Nathan Deal suspended Ellis from office. 

Ellis is suspended with pay; he will continue to receive his annual salary of $150,000.

"I've done nothing wrong," said Ellis, adding he expects to be acquitted and get his job back.  

RELATED | Panel recommends suspension of Ellis

County Commission Chairman Lee May took over the CEO office on an interim basis this week.

"Some people are congratulating me, some are giving me condolences," May said. "I'm just honored to be in this position, and with God's strength, we're going to movie this county forward," he said.

RELATED | Lee May begins first week as Interim DeKalb CEO 

On his first full week in the new office, May told 11Alive's Karyn Greer he may want to get rid of the position of CEO. 

"Of the 159 counties in the state, we are the only county that has the CEO form of government, two different forms of government," May said. "I believe we ought to be like the other 158 counties ... Our form of government breeds conflict."

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