Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fissures In D'Aversa Camp Reach Fever Pitch

By John Fredericks / Beacon Media

The pressures of what has now spiraled into a horrific re-election campaign for Milton Councilwoman Tina D’Aversa may be taking its toll on the candidate herself.

Two well-respected Milton businessmen have made public allegations of D’Aversa personally issuing threats and reprisals as consequences for their non-political support, along with charges she has attempted to suppress their free speech.

This is on top of serious ethics charges filed against her this week at both the state and municipal level.

As a result, the campaign, as well as the candidate, appear to be unraveling at an alarming rate. It’s a sad and disturbing chronology of a desperate candidate pulling out every conceivable stop imaginable to maintain power in the face of political calamity. Naturally, the City of Milton poses as the unfortunate backdrop. Again.


Earlier this week, Neal O’Brien, a former Milton Councilman defeated for re-election in 2007, filed a series of ethics charges with the Georgia State Ethics Commission and the City of Milton.

The municipal filing is not particularly problematic for D’Aversa. Milton’s city ethics ordinances are toothless, and their oversight committee, chaired by North Fulton D.A. Todd Ashley, a D’Aversa appointee, is a judicial body. They have no authority to investigate the validity of ethics charges. The burden of proof is on the complainant, in this case O’Brien, who is likely to be discounted as a defeated former candidate who filed the complaint due to sour grapes, political pay-back, or both. The timing of the filing will also be vilified as purely politically motivated.

Ashley said his Milton Ethics Commission sits like a court, not a lawyer. “We are an adjudicative body, not an investigative body,” Ashley explained.

For the charges to stick, the official has to be found guilty “one step short of beyond a reasonable doubt,” Ashley said.

Nothing is likely to come of the municipal filing, save a slap on the wrist. One veteran North Fulton County elected official mocked Milton’s Ethics Commission, calling it a “Kangaroo Court of the silliest kind.”

Ashley maintained that he would not make any preliminary judgments until “I hear what everybody has to say.”

On the contrary, the timing of the charges may backfire on O’Brien, and actually catalyze D’Aversa’s supporters to further dig in for their candidate, giving her re-election hope in its wake where there previously was none.

Their preliminary hearing is on Monday, where Ashley will get a briefing of the charges and set the agenda for the hearings.


But D’Aversa’s real troubles with this filing will likely stem from the state level. The Georgia State Ethics Commission enforces the laws under its jurisdiction through discreet investigative proceedings and open hearings. This is a deadly serious body: they have a staff of 13 investigators and they are not bound by municipal ethics codes. They have their own rules to hold elected officials accountable.

Atlanta Lawyer Thomas Plank currently chairs the Commission. He has gained a reputation as a hardball ethics lawyer with a no-nonsense and “takes no prisoners” approach. His committee refused to drop a PAC donation investigation against Insurance Commissioner and GOP gubernatorial candidate John Oxendine earlier this year, even after Oxendine returned the money in question.

The charges levied against D’Aversa at the Commission potentially violated three sections of the state ethics code: bribery, abuse of power and using government property for political or personal purposes.

One veteran high-ranking state legislator, familiar with Georgia ethics law and aware of the charges filed against D’Aversa, said the evidence looked damning at first blush. “These are very straightforward charges,” the Georgia General Assembly elected official said. “Here are the questions – did she use her city email account for political or personal purposes? Did she make an offer - bribe – to an opposing candidate? Did she have anything to gain personally or politically from the alleged offer or bribe? Answer, personally, her city salary, politically, her council position and the maintaining of her power. Unless she can prove someone hacked into her email this is straightforward.”

The official predicted the State Commission would likely choose to investigate D’Aversa.


If found guilty by the State Ethics Commission, D’Aversa could be fined, assessed penalties or turned over to the Fulton County D.A. for criminal prosecution.

But the Commission cannot remove her from office. They can only recommend such action. Only the presiding City Council can remove a fellow council member from office.

A former state official who served on the Commission for the last five years doubted how D’Aversa could remain in office, re-elected or not, if she is found to be in violation of the Georgia’s ethic codes. “To prevent this type of action is why the Commission was created in the first place,” the official commented.


Respected Milton businessman Adam Orkin, a D’Aversa appointee and the Chair of Miton’s Highway 9 Board, a volunteer group, says he was threatened by D’Aversa earlier in the week when he informed her he had chosen to remove her campaign signs from his commercial properties in Milton.

Orkin was the subject of D’Aversa’s email where she offered her council opponent, Joe Longoria, a deal to get out of the race by getting a board appointment. The appointment turned out to be Orkin’s position.

“I told Tina that my partners and I no longer shared her value system, and as a result we chose to support another candidate,” Orkin said. “This had nothing to do with her policy positions; we just don’t think we share the same core values. So I asked her to please remove her yard signs from our commercial properties in Milton,” Orkin relayed.

“Tina then told me, ‘Well, if you do that, then I will remove you from the Highway 9 Board!’ I said, ‘OK, Tina, that’s fine, do what you have to do,’ and we left it at that. I am her appointee, she can do that if she must,” Orkin said.


Another noted Milton businessman, Buck Bell, who owns the property on the corner of Crabapple Road and Birmingham Highway, including Milton’s Cuisine Restaurant, relayed a similar experience with D’Aversa that occurred this week as well.

“I asked Tina very politely to remove her yard signs from my properties as well,” said Bell. “This represents my free will and my free speech.”

Bell claimed that D’Aversa’s response essentially amounted to a threatened organized boycott of his tenant’s commercial establishments by her supporters.

“I feel personally threatened by Tina,” Bell admitted. “And my Crabapple commercial community feels threatened by Tina’s power if she gets re-elected. Threats of organized boycotts of area businesses by a local elected official –whose responsibility is to help local merchants – is downright [scary],” lamented Bell. “What have we come to when I can’t choose whether or not to put up a campaign yard sign without fear of reprisals?”

Bell shared one email thread with D’Aversa that confirmed his experience.

D’Aversa: “Please let Mr. Carter [General Manager of Milton’s Cuisine] know that you have made this decision. We would not want to patronize an establishment that changes its mind in this fashion especially after I have been so supportive…Do you represent all Crabapple establishments and business owners with their permission towards my campaign signs? Please do not regret your hurtful words and your support of those who have defamed me and hurt my family. You must take responsibility for your choices… I know this is all politically motivated… Thanks for confirming.”


Anonymous said...

I think this is a shame and I feel sorry for Tina. I supported her in the past. Still think she is a good person, but think it may be time for a new leader. The demands of the role and dealing with some of the ugliness of politics looks like it's taken it's toll on her. I didn't think she looked like a strong leader on the video below at Joe Lockwoods house. And, if the allegations in this article are true, these are unacceptable mistakes. We can't have leaders that use their power in this way. Sad to say, but time for a change.

Anonymous said...

Great, what is she going to do next? Threaten a citizen in Crooked Creek?

Anonymous said...

CC People are special - no one can threaten them - it's not allowed. Didn't you get the memo?

Anonymous said...

CC has ticky-tacky houses. It is definitely not so special.

Anonymous said...

If we get the gating then you wont be able to come and then you wont have to look at our "ticky tacky" houses!

Anonymous said...

oh, no worries. don't care to at all. don't take it too personally, all subdivisions look the same.

Anonymous said...

If Tina decided to bow out gracefully could O'Brien drop the charges and leave her alone?

Anonymous said...

Wow! The intellectual exchanges on here get better all the time! By Wednesday we will degenerate to "I'm rubber and you're glue". Careful, we may give away the secret of the brain trust we have been hiding here in Milton.

Anonymous said...

Wow! The intellectual exchanges on here get better all the time! By Wednesday we will degenerate to "I'm rubber and you're glue". Careful, we may give away the secret of the brain trust we have been hiding here in Milton.

Anonymous said...

politics is ugly and not everyone can take that or would even want to try and it sounds like some residents of milton are even uglier

whats your issue with crooked creek?

why do you dislike your fellow residents so much?

what did they do to you?

Debbie Evans said...

Every election I say, “This is the nastiest one,” and I am proven wrong. I thought the worst one was the Gwinnett County Incumbent Kevin Kenerly, and opposition William Dennis McKinney, Nancy Allison Walter, and Jodie Rosser fiasco. The goal was to beat Kenerly so numerous videos were mailed anonymously showing Kenerly in Las Vegas gambling. It even included a copy of a hotel bill with Kenerly’s charges. Surely the bill was a private document and not subject to the Open Records Act, but it mysteriously surfaced, if in fact, that really was his tab. The opponents’ action backfired and Kenerly was re-elected.

Now we have the Tina D’Aversa saga. Since none of the alleged emails detailing the conversations have been printed in the newspapers, what we really have is a he said/she said saga. We need verifiable facts i.e. the emails, not subjective comments to judge the validity of the hype being spewed on the blogs.

Your October 25, 2009 article, Fissures in D’Aversa Camp Reach Fever Pitch, indicate that, “The pressures of what has now spiraled into a horrific re-election campaign for Milton Councilwoman Tina D’Aversa may be taking its toll on the candidate herself. I guess so! These election tactics are normally seen on higher-level elections, in larger cities (Atlanta, Chicago, New York), as well as state, and federal elections, not in a small city of 30,000 plus people.

If the events occurred as Joe Longoria says on September 3rd, why wasn’t an ethics complaint filed on September 4th? Why wait until October 22nd or so to finally address the issue? Why wait six weeks after a violation occurred to file a complaint? Why is this newsworthy now but wasn't six weeks ago? Could it be that Mrs. D’Aversa would have been cleared in time for the election and the opposition couldn’t take the time gamble?

By filing the complaint now, Mrs. D’Aversa is personally tarnished as well as everything she has done for Milton, or has proposed to do upon winning her seat. Was the opposition hoping to put the election “in the bag” for themselves by slinging mud and parroting innuendoes? That’s what it looks like to me. While it is doubtful she will be officially cleared before November 3rd, this action could backfire and seal the election for her.

Mrs. D’Aversa’s supporters are rallying around her to point out to the voters the timing of this ethics action and the viciousness of the comments against her instead of being able to focus on the issues to get her re-elected. As for the candidate, Mrs. D’Aversa has faced these vengeful attacks with class, which has been defined by some, as grace under pressure. She has to be courageous to endure this hype.

We are all intelligent people and we need to use that intelligence to sift though the muck and research the candidate’s statements and past actions as to their qualifications to hold the Milton Council Position.

Debbie Evans

P.S. No, I don't live in the Birmingham area and no, my phone number and address are not listed in the phonebook.

Anonymous said...

Did it occur to you that Joe Longoria has tried to stay out of this from the beginning?
He did not file the charges,
so how could he have anything to do with the timing.
The only person at fault here is Tina.
The e-mail will come out at her trial.

Anonymous said...

Tina is the one doing the tarnishing! She tarnished Milton with her actions.

Anonymous said...

The newspapers have published several of the most incriminating sentences of the D'Aversa email.

If the people of Milton want to see the whole email, I am sure it can be arranged. The Beacon, the Milton Herald and the AJC all have copies.

I do not think it will help the D'Aversa campaign so you might want to be careful what you wish for.

Anonymous said...

Tim Enloe,

Why don't you publish the email? It looks like your readers are asking for it.

Anonymous said...

Debbie, you're an idiot, portions of the e-mails that are incriminating having been published and that is enough.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Debbie Evans, but either your pseudonom is a weak attempt to appear legit or you are in fact the only registered voter with a similar name, Debra Evans, in Milton. Debra lives in an apartment off Deerfield Pkway and has never voted. I did a little checking with the county voter registration office. Try another name next time....

Anonymous said...

These emails are public record. Go to city hall and read for yourself. Don't rely on the newspapers to give every bit of information to you. How lazy can you be!!!!!!!!! I believe every word from Buck Bell and Adam Orkin. If they have emails than how stupid can she be?????? Some of you need to wake up and smell the roses before you end up putting her back on the Council!!!!!I have spoken to Longoria several times and no I don't live in Crooked Creek and have yet to hear him say one negative about Tina. I have asked him several questions to see if he would say something negative and he would not!!!!!!! Elect Longoria and get new blood in there.

Anonymous said...

Good bye Tina. Nice knowing you!

Anonymous said...

You threaten the owners of the establishments in Crabapple and Highway 9 but you then say in your answer about what do you believe is in the future for crabapple that you want it to be a place where we have nice resturants, etc. What a back stabber you are!!!!!! I wish all the merchants would put the signs back up. Could'nt you get the owner of the Olde Blind Dog to buckle under to you Tina? Has anybody else been threatened by Tina that just has'nt come out of the woods yet? Now is the time people before it is too late!!! Speak up now !!!!!!!


Anonymous said...

Publishing alleged sentences from the email is not good enough. In Salem, people pointed fingers at others and called them witches, sealing their fate to be burned alive with no concrete evidence. How many innocents died there?

Facts, people, facts. The only two people who know the real truth are Tina and Joe. Anyone giving their OPINION of what the emails say is subjective and not fact.

One poster said the emails will come out at her trial which is after the election. When she is found innocent, what will you say then? Oops? Sorry?

As for getting the emails, with the Ethics charge in the air, they cannot be released until after an adjudication of the charge, so I doubt the Beacon or the AJC has them.

Tina is going through the same thing as the witches of Salem, guilty and burned at the stake for allegations and innuendos. The negative blogs are similar to those calling for the death of the alleged witches - kill them, facts are meaningless.

Anonymous said...

I don't appreciate suddenly getting the Beacon thrown into my driveway. I do not subscribe to the Beacon. It is APPARENT the Beacon is throwing their trashy newspaper in all of Milton's driveways this week because they are Politically campaigning for Joe Longoria, Karen Thurman and Bill Lusk. They refuse to print articles by other people who want to express their opinion on the other side of the story, BUT THE BEACON REFUSES TO DO SO, they are completely Partisan and want nothing more to personally ruin Tina D'Aversa. I hope she sues their pants off. Whats' the matter John, can't take rejection??? How kind and generous of them to just give away their paper this week as they trash her on the front page. What a frikkin' coincidence. The Beacon's sudden free newspaper to Milton is pure political and anyone who believes the crap they are printing is an idiot.

Let's get the origianl email from Buck Bell to Tina which promted her response. Bet it's not puppies and kittens Milton! Wake UP you are all being Duped by the Beacon.

Joe Longoria was introduced to Neal O'Brien by Karen Thurman and
Bill Lusk. They my friends put O'Brien up to filing ethics against Tina, Joe Longoria is the idiot who is letting them influence him. He better run for the hills because if he gets elected they are going to be telling him what to do left and right, Karen on his right, and Bill on his left. You can count on it. You think it's bad watching Burt Hewitt vote however Lockwood does, this crap won't even compare. But he already made it clear he is his NOT his own man by joining up with them, Bad Move Longoria.

- Open Road Resident (yes we are residents too)

Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen the the nasty emails they sent her which promted her response???

Anonymous said...

The Milton Herald and the Beacon reported that they had the emails. That is how they were able to provide "direct quotes" from them. Unless you are accussing both papers of fabricating these quotes, these are fact and not opinion.

I heard the AJC had them as well but have not seen that story yet.

Anonymous said...

I am so confused on who to vote for in this race. I wish we had a third candidate. At this point I would settle for Mickey Mouse.

Anonymous said...

The emails can easily be found -they are real and Tina is as guilty as O.J. Simpson! Joe Longoria's campaign is now sending out an email and mail piece and everyone can see it for themselves. Quit shooting the messenger and blame the real culprit - Tina for being so arrogant that she thought it was OK to do this! Vote her OUT now!

Anonymous said...

Are you implying that Tina has a glove? Just because that picture looks like the King of Pop?

Anonymous said...

There is some innuendo here that Adam Orkin and Buck Bell sent Tina a nasty email asking her to take her signs down. Who would know about that except Tina?

So assume that is true. Don't we want a person representing our city who can handle it when a citizen supports their opponent? It is their constitutional right to do so, whether or not you placed them on a committee or supported their business at some time in the past.

Tina's whole campaign has been plagued with hurt feelings. She blew off Karen and Bill because they didn't follow her out of the Crooked Creek event. She threatened an economic boycott of Buck Bell's leasors restaurant. She took Adam Orkin off the Highway 9 Committee.

This isn't middle school. We need a rational adult who reacts with dignity. This is getting more and more embarrasing for Milton by the minute.

Anonymous said...

Now I hear the JZB "slate" is "boycotting" the Beacon debate this week, just like they threatened to "boycott" Buck Bell's businesses. Yeah, that's the spirit! Tell the voters to go pound sand -or horse manure- and don't show up. They are petrified of facing voters in a real debate with real hardball questions they actually would have to answer. So instead they blame everyone else and follow their leader: JZB. What an embarrassment these people are. I really wanted to actually hear what Wolff had to say. But I guess momma julie said he can't go.

Anonymous said...

To the 12:40 poster who wishes there was a 3rd person to vote for, just write in Al Trivillan.

Anonymous said...

They are petrified of an event being run by someone other than their supporters! Do you know all three of the moderators at the forum were quoted on Tina's ad as supporters? That is really objective, Tim.

So the JZB people aren't up to it? Well that is telling indeed.

Anonymous said...

People!!!!!! She admitted to sending these emails that the paper got hold of. She just said that she did not mean it like it sounded. OH MY, FOOT IN MOUTH!!!! So how can you say the papers made them up. Once again SHE ADMITTED SENDING THE EMAILS TO LONGORIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!ANDSHE NEEDS TO STOP ASKING MY SON WHY I HAVE A LONGORIA SIGN IN MY FRONT YARD. YOU DROVE BY OVER TWO WEEKS AGO AND YOU ARE CALLING HIM!!!!!!! It's my business who I vote for and nobody elses Tina. So leave us alone. You know who I am!!!!!

To the open road neighbor. Prove that Lusk, Thurman and Longoria put O'Brian up to filing the ethics charge against her. If you can't then shut up. Maybe they will slap a slander suit on you. Oh we don't really know who you are do we? And so is no one allowed to file an ethics charge against Tina??? So O'Brian did. Good for him. I don't like him but don't slap him in the face for doing it. If she is found guilty by the state then so be it. If she is found innocent then so be it. It just took some balls for someone to finally step up to the plate and finally do something instead of letting it go. And the Tina supporters do not like it. So lets slam Longoria who I have spoken to twice and he has not said one negative comment about Tina. And who gives a crap if they gate Crooked Creek??? It will cost the city less money in 10 years because once gated the homeowners have to pay for paving and pot holes, etc. Let them be frustrated when they are in a hurry and it's backed up and they can't get in or out. I won't care one bit. I really don't like subdivisions at all. I live on an open road and love it. But some people would hate it. Just because Crooked Creek wants their subdivision gated and coincidently Joe Longoria lives there, then everyone hates Crooked Creek.. Just remember one day you may want to have your neighborhood gated and you may have to eat your words. Maybe even Champions View where Tina lives might want to gate. I guess that would be o.k. in others eyes.

Anonymous said...

Yoohoooo, newsflash. Old news. Tina does not live in Champoins View so ya might want to get YOUR facts straight.

Anonymous said...

It is spelled Al T-R-E-V-I-L-L-Y-A-N.

To the poster who said, "If she is guilty so be it and if she is innocent so be it." What if you were the at the center of this? Or you were charged with a crime? Would you want the jury to say,"If he/she is guilty so be it and if he/she is innocent so be it." How would you feel?

It matters because her intregrity is on the line. If O'Brien filed the charges in September, it wouldn't look like a political move and we would know the results now in time for the election. She doesn't have time to clear her name and that is what is so unfair about this.

This brutal smear campaign against her is what made my mind up to vote for her. Nobody can be as bad as the paper has made her out to be with no concrete facts to back up the comments made by the bloggers on this site.

O.J. Simpson was charged with murder and domestic violence. Tina is no way in that class and it is an insult to compare her to him.

Newspapers can be bullies and they don't have the emails because if they did, they couldn't resist printing them.

Like to poster talking about witches said, Tina is the innocent here being accused of being a witch and she is going to be burned at the stake on the accusation of people calling for her head to roll with no facutal basis for the charges. Does brutalizing a possible innocent make you feel powerful?

Anonymous said...

Last Poster,

The ethics committee met tonight and could not resolve anything because Tina has 30 days to respond. In the best case scenario, even if the charge came out on Sept 3, it would probably not be resolved by now in favor of Tina. You guys need to wake up and realize the charge is REAL! She wrote, she sent it, she violated MILTON'S Trust.

I have the original email. I know what it says. It is a horrendous abuse of power. I would be happy to post it if Tim Enloe would allow it.

Trust me, Tina supporters, asking to see the email is not SMART!

Anonymous said...

A horrendous abuse of power was Nixon trying to coverup Watergate and Clinton lying about his sexual affairs.

I doubt Tina has done anything approaching a horrendous abuse of power.

Tim Enloe said...

"They are petrified of an event being run by someone other than their supporters! Do you know all three of the moderators at the forum were quoted on Tina's ad as supporters? That is really objective, Tim.

So the JZB people aren't up to it? Well that is telling indeed."

I had pursued many different people from both sides of the argument regarding where to have the Milton People's Forum and who to handle the moderation. There was a very popular business in Crabapple that I had approached. While the owners were open to it, there was concern with having enough room. Thus, I followed their suggestion and considered other options from St Francis High School to Crabapple Baptist.

Regarding the choice of moderators, they were not just names pulled out of a hat. We looked long and hard at potentials and settled on those that we have witnessed to be objective and active since the incorporation.

Throughout this election, I have been questioned from both sides due to my treating each side equally and being far more moderate than either extreme. Ask the candidates about me - they will tell you I have treated each above board. Accessmilton is about building bridges, not burning them.

In reference to Mrs. Bailey...she no longer has Accessmilton linked on her website nor promotes it in her emails. You be the judge.

Call me if you have further concerns.

Tim Enloe
770 653 0552

Anonymous said...

Well sorry Tim. Perhaps they lost their objectivity...

Anonymous said...

"She took Adam Orkin off the Highway 9 Committee." and "I believe every word from Buck Bell and Adam Orkin." There is always more to the story with Adam Orkin. Do you know what it REALLY happened? Never believe every (or any) word from him.

Anonymous said...

I will say this Tim, the forum was relatively smooth and uneventful. That being said, your moderators had all demonstrated support of the Tina, Al, and Wolff slate. Even with that, they conducted themselves in a very fair manner... and the other three candidates answered in kind. I think it extremely disappointing that T, A, and W are all rumored to be backing out of the Beacon debate. And Lusk caught hell for being 15 min late...

Anonymous said...

Should the mayor and the city manager be brought up on ethics charges too? Their names were on the e-mail to Longoria.

Anonymous said...

How do you know?

Anonymous said...

Because I've seen the e-mail.

Tina copied them in on it, for what reason, who knows?

The "bribe" and that's what it should be described as, was all Tina, Joe and Chris were just copied in on the e-mail.

I'm beginning to think that Tina doesn't want to be re-elected, and her actions continue to push me toward this feeling.

Anonymous said...

The state ethics complaint is available as a link from if anyone wants to read it for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it the mayor's duty to bring forward malfeasance of office?

Anonymous said...

Maybe the mayor (and city mgr.) didn't think anything was wrong with it.

Anonymous said...

Can't ever tell what flip flop Joe and the Bloom might be thinking.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who wants to know what the ethics laws are in the city needs to just read the ethics ordinance on the city web site.

Anonymous said...

To the 4:03 blogger. EXCUUUUUUUSE ME! She lived in Champions View when elected. (555 Champions Hill Drive). Since her divorce from her husband and also his last name she has moved over to 13568 Weycroft Circle. I am sorry so please forgive me. I can admit my wrong unlike Tina who cannot!!!!!!!! At least she was smart enough to stay in the same district.