Doraville: Rats abandoning the sinking ship?


Part One:

Gm site development and Doraville are all the city’s Pr department has talked about since 2008. The next Atlantic station, movie studios, Falcons, Braves, casinos and more. Most of it is pr hot air and in some cases out right lies. The city has two full time spin doctors to keep the ilusion lit. Running the show in Doraville is not the Ex mall guard turned mayor, Donna Pittman. Doraville city council hired a city manager to take over the mayors full time position. She was not capable of running the city so professional help was required. The manager’s name is Shawn Gillen. An ex-football player turned politician/ manager.
The Pr machine created by Shawn Gillen would leed the average citizen or news paper reader to believe that something extraordinary was going to be built. The town would see a twenty year, multi billion dollar development build out. This was the story he was pictching to the Dekalb County BOC ( Board of Commissioners) in June. The development team, mayor, city staff, hired pr / salesman and Shawn Gillen were painting this pretty picture to the BOC. The city is trying to convince the County and school board to float a 294 million TAD bond and forgo taxes on new development for 25 years. The county, school board, and the city will have to cover services during the same period without the tax income.
What the newspapers, The BOC, and the people of Doraville did not know, Mr Gillen was looking for another job at the same time. What, the most important development in Georgia, a great time to run a city!! What!! Shawn Gillen, a resident of Johns Creek not Doraville, was applying for the ASSISTANT MANAGERS job in neighboring Brookhaven. Not the city managers job like he currenty holds in Doraville. The ASSISTANT???
The city of doraville has its problems. All small towns in a competitive metro market have problems. The challenge is to manage each towns unique assets for the least amount of money with highest quality results. The opposite has occured during the last four years. The Donna Pittman years. Taxes and pork projects are expanding while services are contracting. Everything bad is blamed on the GM plant closing, not the bad management of the city. The bail out of Doraville businesses and citizens over the last four years is reaching epidemic proportions and the demographics are in free fall.

Purhaps Shawn Gillen knows the rope is running out on his $300,000 budget and the house of cards is coming down.

The president of the city’s Downtown Development Authority and the largest strip mall owner, Jack Halpern, is moving his home office to Sandy Springs. This comes on the heals of selling off his largest shopping mall property ( Chick fil a , Wells fargo , and Mcdonalds) for 22 million. The City Planner, Joe Cooley (- a attorney/planner who worked for the law firm representing Halpern before getting a job as the planner for Doraville ) left Doraville and has taken a planning job with Sandy Springs. Coincidence???

The two leaders on the city council elected not to run again. One selling her house and leaving due to
“the blatant lies and corruption in leadership of Doraville city hall”.

There seems to be a pattern here. The insiders are getting out while chanting the “GM development is great” theme.

See Redact to see Shawn Gillen’s Job Application to Brookhaven. An open records request to the city of Brookhaven netted the application.

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Doraville Mayor puts Two Million Gal beer bottling plant in the middle of a neighborhood

Small micro breweries are sprouting up across the US. These brew pubs or growlers serve a Cheers atmosphere with food and a fresh tasty malt beverage. Beer brewed in shiny 200 gal vessels in a old exposed brick converted warehouse atmosphere.
Micro breweries rarely produce more than 16,000 gal per year. food, beverage, and local meeting place for a small town to gather.

This is the picture presented to the Doraville city council. Simple, right? The plan presented by Donna Pittman, the ex mall guard mayor, dysfunctional staff, and a ‘applicant’ who was considering opening a business. The ‘applicant’, the city was spending time and taxpayer resources on, wanted the zoning changed to allow a beer bottling plant. Not a micro brew pub/restaurant. Yes, no food, no cheers, no everyone knows your name. Just a big ugly , multi million gal bottling plant, truck traffic, smelly, exploding, neighborhood yeast infection next to a park and two streams. Thanks to Donna and her fellow dimwits.
The council voted to change the planning commission recommendation by going from a 16,000 gal micro to a full size bottling plant. The vote was 3 to 2. Donna Pittman’s step and fetch it on the council Robert Patrick, The beer guzzling Maria Alexander, and of course the rolling ethics violation, Pam Flemming. Ms Flemming making the comment” I don’t care what he builds (applicant) I’ll vote yes”.
Standards aren’t very high here in Doryville!
Donna Pittman and Pam Flemming are up for re election in November. Chances of these two nitwits of being voted back in are nil. Perhaps ‘Laverne and Shirley’ think they can get a job at the bottling plant after being thrown out of office.
Dawn O’connor and Sharon Spangler voted against the change in the zoning law to allow the heavy industrial use in the neighborhood.
The only audience members for the plant were two people who got a recent zoning hookup from Donna. One wearing a bad wig the other a shirt with a beer sponsor emblazoned across his chest. A little tit for tat.
Reason enough for good development to run for the exits.

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Doraville Annexation Train Wreck!

2014-Annexation-by-Action-Type Proposed Annexation Map

The troubled little town of Doraville Georgia suffered a major setback with a controversial two part annexation in last Tuesday’s election. Voters, in the proposed annexation area south of the city, overwhelmingly said no. This is the third unsuccessful attempt by the City since 2007 to grab control of $325,000,000 of businesses, homes, plus police control of I85 north and I285 known as spaghetti Junction.
See voter results below.

Annexations by cities surrounding Doraville have been successful using a voter referendum. Georgia law provides four distinct methods for city and counties to annex or de annex lands. The Georgia Municipal association provides a easy cook book of rules to follow and provides assistance. Doraville, the metro Atlanta problem child, couldn’t follow those simple instructions. They had to go around the process in their land grab to fund a back room deal. Quote from a Georgia House rep ” If this vote goes south on the annexation, this is going to be a big mess”. Lets take a look at the mess, how it was created, why and where all this is headed.
See annexation Gma report below

The new City of Dunwoody and neighbor Chamblee annexed unincorporated land on the northern border of Doraville in a three city referendum in 2007. The two other cities were successful but Doraville’s bid was defeated by the voters in the annexation area. This created a island. Time passed, new state house reps, new city council. The “new” state legislators “gave” Doraville the northern annexation area in 2013 without a referendum. The voters in the area cried foul. They were not given a voice or a choice between Dunwoody or Doraville. The old State and senate reps were ethical, required a vote – the new reps and Doraville Mayor were not so concerned about ethics or peoples rights. They just took the land without so much as a letter of warning.

The same Legislators led by Scott Holcomb (dem) and Tom Taylor (republican) tried the same scam for the southern end of the city. This attempt presented a different set of problems and driven by a different purpose. There was no unincorporated island, larger area and more voters, and had been defeated twice like the northern annexation area. The purpose was different and more pressing- Money and land. The city needed the 325,000,000 land value for a 10% city land value bond requirement to underwrite a bankrupt developer in a Gm site land scheme. They could not wait until all the rules were followed- they needed the collateral NOW! The GM deal was closing. They promised the money in a backroom deal, now the Mayor and her cronies had to deliver. Problem – the voters outside of Doraville are apparently a little smarter than the two reps and Doraville City hall. They didn’t cooperate – strike three -Doraville was out. But this created a bigger mess.

The Mess:

Voter Results: November 5th election results

GMA on Georgia annexation law and proposed annexations:2014_07_16_gsu_annexation_report

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Triple Nine Movie being shot in Doraville!

The film trucks rolled into the old union hall parking lot this evening in preparation for Wednesday july 9 shooting of the movie ‘Triple Nine’ starring Norman Reedus, Aaron Paul, Woody Harrelson.
9 film and support vehicles are ready. Should be exciting!
Owner of this ex UAW building and parking lot was the focus of a two year long FBI investigation
which resulted in a indictment and conviction for bribing a Doraville official. This investigation also involved a coverup by one of the most inept, crooked city in Georgia. Gee, A movie about Russian Mafia, crooked cops, strippers, pimps filmed in a criminals parking lot in a criminal city. They are making a film about the City of Doraville City Government. They don’t need any extras.
Will post photos

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Doraville sink hole problems expand. Street collapse.

Jesse Norman at Buford highway is collapsing as the 1500 foot metal pipe that runs in front of the Quick trip on Buford and Jesse Norman continues to cave. The pictures follow the pipe from the quick trip across the old North East bank property, across Jesse Norman, behind the Quick trip. Doravilleonlinenews has tried for the last two weeks to interview the Doraville city manager for comment. Has not responded. Update: sat down with the Doraville city manager on monday 6-16-2014. “Engineers are looking at the pipe at the waffle house”. Didn’t want to talk about the complete system of pipes rusting out, streams, collapsing roadways, or the three previous non permitted jobs on the waffle house property, staff problems. The tractor in the sink hole was one of those approved without a permit or approved site plan jobs. See: City Manager interview

The new Quick trip combines three lots with all the paving to send all the rainwater into a old collapsing system.

The new Quick trip combined three lots sending all the rainwater into a old collapsing system.

looking across buford highway toward Jesse Norman the Storm structure in the fore ground

looking across buford highway toward Jesse Norman the Storm structure in the fore ground

Storm water structure installed by Quick Trip with Doraville and Gdot approval

Storm water structure installed by Quick Trip with Doraville and Gdot approval

Storm Water tag installed as part of a Doraville eagle scout project. feeds water into the collpased pipe

Storm Water tag installed as part of a Doraville eagle scout project. feeds water into the collapsed pipe

This area of Buford highway floods because of the damaged storm drain system

This area of Buford highway floods because of the damaged storm drain system

Buford highway flooding in front of Quick Trip caused by collapsed and sealed structure

Buford highway flooding in front of Quick Trip caused by collapsed and sealed structure

More sink holes next to buford highway sink - all part of the 1500ft pipe collapse. Note no caution tape or markers.

More sink holes next to buford highway sink – all part of the 1500ft pipe collapse. Note no caution tape or markers.

Crape Myrtles and shrubs collapse into sink hole next to Buford Highway sidewalk

Crape Myrtles and shrubs collapse into sink hole next to Buford Highway sidewalk

pipes from buford Highway storm drains collect next to Jesse Norman.

pipes from buford Highway storm drains collect next to Jesse Norman.

sink hole next to Jesse Norman. Operator escaped harm by emergency exit.

sink hole next to Jesse Norman. Operator escaped harm by emergency exit.

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Waffle house sues the city, county and gdot !

Doravilleonline news has learned from Dekalb and Gdot officials that 1500 ft of storm water pipes from the QT on Buford highway to the stream located behind the metro bank building have collapsed in multiple locations. Buford highway, Jesse Norman way, Buford highway sidewalks, and multiple areas behind the waffle house are pock marked with sink holes. The city is being cited as the party responsible because it is collecting the storm water fees to maintain these systems and is responsible for the storm water system. The city has come under fire for using its storm water fees to buy an $44,000 pickup truck and fund 500,000 pork paving projects for key voters and donors. The city has a est. 20,000,000 crumbling storm water problem. IMG_2148
The track hoe fell into sink hole while repairing a wall behind the waffle house- operator was unharmed.
The waffle house located at Jesse Norman and buford highway.

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Doraville and ‘townhouse style’ condo project caught up in scandal!


The picture is a 2004 water color presentation of a townhouse project presented to neighborhood groups. The development was described as a group of high quality $335,000 fee simple brick townhouses facing Chestnut road. The background shows water and the stream that forms the border of the property. Old growth forest and new specimen trees.
The Townhouses were to be built close to Chestnut to keep them out of the water, flood plain, and for environmental reasons. The slope was another major factor claimed.

The Plans didn’t match the water color, what was built didn’t match what was approved, and the land didn’t match the drawing.

The developers had a local neighborhood group and the mayor of the city convinced that the 8 to 10 town houses built close to the road would be a positive for the neighborhood. The rest of the neighborhood was not convinced, for good reasons, as we shall see. The Townhouse project presented and what was built- well- This is the story of Doraville Georgia. The greed and ignorance of its politicians, the desperation of the neighborhoods to do better, and the sad results – a town that has everything going for it – of being duped.

The story will take you through a brief history of the 7 acre lot, the area and neighborhoods. Pictures, maps, zoning changes and minutes of meetings to document this project. The topic is sensitive and controversial in the city. Recent events may end up in court- both civil and perhaps criminal. Whatever the outcome, the old adage is true.
often the cover up is worse than the lie.
The 1991- 2004 zoning map from the rezoning period 2005 shows the chestnut place condo area was zoned R-1 prior to the 7 acres being rezoned to R-SFA with conditions in 2005.
The 2006 offical Doraville zoning map copy shows the chestnut place project to be be rezoned to R-SFA single family detatched). The 2005 rezoning indicated the project presented by: the builder, Lee Walton of The planning firm of Roberts co.( did review for City of Doraville), Dekalb county, and the City of Doraville the R-SFA rezoning was for fee simple townhouses facing chestnut like the water color.
Zoning Adopt Official Street_index_Map_05-12-10_exist_nogridlines
This 2010 copy of the official Doraville Zoning map Shows the property zoned R-4c. Residential- condominiums with conditions. The site was rezoned in 2009 to match what was built. Condos, not fee simple townhouses, were built. A set of conditions were added to correct a mess created by a bankrupt development that seemed to follow none of the original plans.

Copy of the rezoning conditions r-4c conditional, minutes, list of conditions, r-4 zoning:
Agenda 5-24-2010 MCC

Minutes 05-24-10

RZ – Chestnut Place Condos


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Logan goes to the rainbow bridge

IMG_0048read to rover friends
Read to rover friends

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

Author unknown…

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That thing got a Hemi? New Doraville City manager totals his new city car!!

The new Doraville

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Doraville is a city of ethics?? Doraville suspends all ethics complaints!!

The Doraville City Council in 2007 passed an Ethics Code for its Mayor and council. A Large plaque was placed in a prominent place in the city hall’s wood paneled foyer. City stationary to business cards all proclaimed the city was now ethical. Madonna ‘Just like a virgin’ or A quick dip in the river Jordan and all is forgiven. The crooks were born again. The speed trap eyesore at 285 and Buford highway was born again. No more hookups, cheating, lying, money payoffs, zoning deals, jails in the city park, campaign tit for tat, etc.

Ethical Doraville is an bit of a oxymoron. Photo-ops and pretension. It was not going to be too long before this Mayor and council fell off the wagon. The burden of behaving in an ethical manner got to be too much for this ex mall guard Mayor and her council cronies to bear. Reporting monies and following the law was just too troublesome. Besides, a rumor of ethics violations being filed against the Mayor and her BFF on council was the last straw. Things had to change. This was an emergency and something had to be done to keep their phoney baloney jobs.

The panic started when I asked for copies of ethics complaint forms from the clerk’s office. Four inquires netted no forms. After the fifth inquiry, a member of Doraville’s law firm: Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe (major campaign contributor to the mayor and her cronies) was put on the phone. I was informed by the attorney that there were no ethics complaint forms and I would have to follow the law and make up my own. No form??? I looked through old files and found not one but 10 Official ethics complaint forms. At the next meeting, the council voted to call a moratorium on filing any new ethics complaints while they changed the law.

They refused to appoint a full ethics panel of three people. The panel was down to one lone appointee ( a friend and neighbor of the mall guard mayor ). They added one member only after voting to put a moratorium on complaints. When a third name was offered, the mayor was the deciding vote -NO. No ethics panel to turn in the forms and a moratorium. New ethics laws are being passed to block ethics charges being filed against those voting on the ethics laws, making it all but impossible to file an ethics charge.
For Example:
1. The limitation on filing is a year after the basis for the charge occurs. It takes two years to get the city to turn over an open records request, if ever, to file the complaint. If they can lay low for a year after robbing the bank, they are safe. The Attorney General, when asked whether the statute of limitations on a crime is 6mos or a year, replied there is no statute of limitations on a crime. Doraville thinks so!!!
2. If their lawyer turns down the ethics complaint as being ‘inadequate’ ( remember their law firm donated a hunk of cash to get the bums elected) you can’t file again on another charge for another 6 months, if ever.
3. Complaints can’t be filed if they might run for office or they are running for office or in office.
4. The people hearing the complaint are hired ( hearing officer) or are put on this shell game panel plan by the very people the complaints are being filed against. HMMMMM!!
Sometimes an attempt to cover up a possible scandal ignites a bigger scandal when the cover up fails. If ethics charges are quashed in Doraville’s clumsy attempt to put the lid on the problems, the court of public opinion will hear the cases. Attorney General, newspapers, tv, media, internet. The crimes are not going away..

Perhaps a new plaque for city hall and its stationary : Doravile, City of No Ethics. Corruption and mismanagement in local and national government has reached epidemic proportions. Dekalb County’s CEO , Burril Ellis, ( campaign contributor and friend of the mall guard mayor of Doraville) has been indicted, staff members of the county indicted and jailed- all well documented. Sunshine laws and open government in Doraville are only words used by crooked politicians to give the uninformed residents a sense that their city is being run by honest people. The latest in Doraville scandal is only the tip of the iceberg.

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