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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Winslow publicly discloses vote that helped appoint her personal lawyer to city position

Earlier this week, at the end of an Atlanta City Council special meeting to discuss using eminent domain for the Atlanta Beltline's expansion, Councilwoman Cleta Winslow announced to about 50 people that she recently made a recent improper vote.

Winslow publicly disclosed on Monday that she voted to confirm Mayor Kasim Reed's appointment of Antavius M. Weems, whom she previously hired as her personal attorney involving a recent run-in with the law, to serve a two-year term as a procurement hearing officer. During Council's May 20 meeting, Winslow cast her vote in Weem's favor.

The longtime councilwoman tells CL that happened because she didn't initially see the item on the meeting's agenda. Upon realizing her possible infraction, she contacted the city's ethics board because she "needed to be honest."

"I thought it was the way to go in terms of [being] an elected official," she says. "It was the right thing to do."

Before the May vote, she hired Weems after Atlanta Police officers arrested her for allegedly committing numerous traffic violations, including a DUI, blocks away from her West End home.

According to APD, the councilwoman admitted to imbibing "two dirty martinis" at Elliott Street Pub and appeared clearly intoxicated. She was taken into custody after refusing a sobriety test and was released on a $3,355 bond. Her charges included a DUI as well as driving on the wrong side of the road, failure to stop for a stop sign, reckless driving, and a red-light violation.

Upon informing the city's ethics board last month, Ethics Officer Nina Hickson told Winslow in a letter that she needed to make the announcement during Monday's full Council meeting. The special meeting over eminent domain, though not a regularly scheduled Council get-together, was technically with the entire Council.

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