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Ellis turns to YouTube to tell public he is innocent

Grand Jury hands down new indictment


As a Grand Jury indicted suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis on new charges, he spoke out on a YouTube video telling viewers that he’s innocent. He maintains the charges against him are politically motivated. 

The 14-count indictment, filed Jan. 16, include bribery, perjury and theft by extortion. Prosecutors dropped seven counts from the original indictment, replacing them with six new charges. In the latest charges, Ellis is accused of canceling work with Brenda Cornelius (The Cornelius Group, Inc.). She had served on Ellis’ transition team when he was first elected in 2008. Cornelius was hired in 2012 to promote the Clean Cities Atlanta Peritoneum Reduction Program, a compressed natural gas program unitizing the county-owned landfill. The indictment said Cornelius’ work was cancelled after she criticized Ellis professionally. 

 Ellis’ video, which is 2 minutes and 44 seconds long, doesn’t address specific charges, but he maintains his innocence. The video was published on the internet on Jan. 15. More than 1,000 people had viewed the video by On Common Ground News’ Jan. 16 deadline. Comments that were posted on the video, several of them mocking and insulting, were removed from the site. 

Ellis, who appears on the video dressed in a dark suit, had told On Common Ground News a few weeks ago that he could not speak publicly about the case on the advice of his attorneys. But now Ellis is speaking out on the video: 

“This is DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis and it is now time for me to speak directly to my constituents who have placed faith and confidence in me as their duly elected CEO. I am innocent of the charges against me. They are politically motivated. I have never violated the trust the voters of DeKalb County have placed in me in more than 13 years of public service. I have never stolen nor profited from my public service. I stand for honest, open and transparent government. 

“One year ago, the DeKalb District Attorney raided my home while my 83-year-old mother was there alone. The trauma of that event lingers to this day. The D.A. went through my closets, my wife’s personal items, my kids’ toy bins and even my trash and  found nothing illegal or improper because  I have done absolutely nothing wrong.”

Investigators from District Attorney Robert James’s Office raided Ellis’ Stone Mountain home and his office searching for financial records that might offer evidence of conspiracy, extortion and theft. Ellis is accused of pressuring county vendors to contribute to his political campaign in 2012 and using county workers to solicit on his behalf.

Ellis describes the D.A. of having a “zeal to destroy him.” His attorneys said in court documents the D.A. had Kelvin Walton, the county’s purchasing director, wear a super spy wristwatch to secretly videotape Ellis.  

Ellis’ attorneys recently filed several motions asking Superior Court Judge Courtney Johnson to dismiss the charges against him. 

James’ spokesman, Erik Burton, has said the D.A. will not comment on the pending court case.  

You can the view indictment online at

Pictured above: L-R: Burrell Ellis and Robert James  


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