Breathe Deeply: More DeKalb Misspending

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DeKalb County asked the District Attorney to investigate new allegations of theft inside the county's senior services program.

Authorities said questions from the FOX 5 I-Team led to the most recent discovery of questionable spending for programs that are supposed to help the elderly.

In August, the FOX 5 I-Team first reported on an audit involving thousands of dollars in wasted money spent by former senior affairs manager Karl Williams.

A $30,000 cooking video. Seventy-five copies produced. No senior ever got one.

Williams also spent nearly $100,000 to bring old buses to the county. They wound up needing expensive repairs to make them road safe. Instead, they sat at the landfill, having never carried a single DeKalb senior. So far, the county has failed to find any buyers to take the buses somewhere else.

Add to the list another $15,000, and renewed calls for a criminal probe.

Two invoices obtained by the FOX 5 I-Team claim instructor Sherry Blackshear taught Zumba dance, Tai Chi, Yoga and Muscle Strengthening during 2010-11.

Authorities said those invoices are fake.

"We found out that the invoice that we did pay for, those classes did not happen," said DeKalb County spokesman Burke Brennan.
"Based on the information that you alerted us to, we found more questionable activity. And we found more information that we believe to be criminal so we forwarded that to the district attorney as well."

The county had earlier informed the DA about the cooking video, the wasted bus money, and several other red flags mentioned in the audit.

According to the county's letter to the DA, "the invoices for classes submitted by Sherry Blackshear, approved by Karl Williams were in fact not delivered in the various Senior Centers 2010/11. This assertion was verified by the Office of Senior Affairs staff. We are extremely concerned about the implications of possible illegal acts by Karl Williams and Sherry Blackshear."

Blackshear was not home and did not immediately respond for comment. Williams said in August he had no comment on allegations of wrongdoing.

"I suggest you take this up with the county, OK?"