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Ethics issues raise profiles of city races

8:09 PM, Oct 10, 2013   |    comments
Natalyn Archibong was elected to the Atlanta city council in 2001
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ATLANTA-- Natalyn Archibong is the city council representative for district five, rooted in the East Atlanta village. Last month, she reached a settlement with the city's board of ethics, agreeing to pay a $250 dollar fine for failing to report that she'd authorized a "pass through" payment to a company owned by her brother. The settlement says Archibong "had no intent to violate" the law. She told us "it was just a reporting omission."

But Matt Rinker isn't so willing to forgive. "She knows the ethics rules she's to run by, and she's not doing that," said Rinker, who is running against Archibong in November's election. "Neighbors and voters I've spoken with in district five are upset about it."

Rinker argues that it's similar to the the ethics issues faced by H. Lamar Willis, who is running for re-election in a citywide council seat.

The Georgia Supreme Court disbarred Willis from the practice of law this week after he failed to challenge an allegation he'd pocketed a $30,000 payment intended for a client. Willis called it a "personal" issue, unrelated to his public service. His best-funded challenger, Andre Dickens, called it unethical. "There's a clear line. If you can see that line in ethics, you've come too close to it," Dickens said.

History suggests the challengers will face an uphill battle. The last time a sitting city council member was defeated for reelection was 2001. The city council member defeated was Sherry Dorsey; her husband, former DeKalb Co. sheriff Sid Dorsey, was facing a murder charge. The challenger who beat Dorsey was Natalyn Archibong.

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