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Fulton Tax Commissioner Won’t Face Ethics Investigation

Arthur Ferdinand went before the county’s Board of Ethics members Tuesday during a probable-cause hearing that he allegedly gave special treatment to the Atlanta mayor concerning late tax bills.

Arthur Ferdinand. Credit: Patch user contributed photo
Arthur Ferdinand. Credit: Patch user contributed photo
Fulton County Tax Commissioner Arthur Ferdinand will not face an ethics investigation for allegedly giving special treatment to the Atlanta mayor concerning late tax bills.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that on Tuesday, Ferdinand presented copies of two uncashed cashier’s checks from Mayor Kasim Reed to the county’s Board of Ethics members during a probable-cause hearing. Ferdinand said the checks prove the Atlanta mayor attempted to pay his taxes on time in October 2009.

It marked the first time the county’s tax chief had publicly explained why Reed, who “owed tens of thousands of dollars in delinquent property taxes soon after taking office,” received different treatment than ordinary taxpaying citizens.

Ferdinand offered several examples on Tuesday of other taxpayers who he said received the same treatment as the mayor.

A Rome, Ga.-based ethics advocate had previously filed the ethics complaint, charging Ferdinand of a coverup.

Tuesday’s events were just another twisting turn in the complex story that The AJC first began reporting last September. Read more from The AJC here, but note that it is posted under the subscriber content section.

Background from The AJC

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution broke the story last year that Fulton County Tax Commissioner Aurthur Ferdinand appeared to have given special treatment to Mayor Kasim Reed on Reed’s overdue property taxes. Tuesday’s meeting of the Fulton County Ethics Board was a direct result of that report.

The news organization long ago established that Ferdinand is the highest-paid elected official in the state. In addition to his regular salary, the commissioner charges three cities in Fulton County $1 per parcel for handling those cities’ tax collections. In addition he relies heavily on selling liens for unpaid taxes to private companies — for which he collects 50 cents per transaction. Some of the lien buyers have then used aggressive tactics against delinquent taxpayers to collect on the debt.

Including his salary and the additional fees he collected, Ferdinand’s pay in 2013 totaled $383,000, the AJC found.

In large part because of the AJC’s reporting, Fulton legislators have proposed making Ferdinand’s position an appointed rather than elected one, and changing the law so that tax commissioners may not collect fees for selling their constituents’ tax liens.

Reality February 19, 2014 at 08:37 PM
I am not surprised that the mayor gets little perks and freebies. How abusive! Ferdinand has always been an issue and his office his arrogant and unhelpful to normal middle class people asking for assistance just to get a bill. Before we could pay online,his office could not even get bills out ontime and or to the right address. God forbid you are one day late due to their office not giving you a bill,so their standard line was IT IS YOUR JOB TO FIND YOUR BiLL even if we do not mail it to you, so guess that is not true for MR MAYOR How big is the C in CORRUPT? What do you mean he attempted to pay? Did he write a check after the fact and post date it and then it was never mailed? Is that trying? Can someone in the press please explain what trying means. Reed is an attorney, educated, surely he knows how to write a check, mail it?.. What am I missing?..
Reality February 19, 2014 at 08:42 PM
One more thing if Ferdinand s office forgot to cash the mayors tax checks then fire those involved for being incompetent and investigate them to see if there was a reason they did not deposit them,maybe they thought he should not pay? And fire Ferdinand for oversight as he is was in charge so he failed if his employees failed. The buck should stop with him. He seems to be via the same cloth as Dr Hall.

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