NOTE: This post contains some material posted earlier on this blog. It is published here as the electronic version of Sunday’s AJC column:
The rumors and stories about Gwinnett County politics have circulated for years, even decades.
Stories about an incestuous, feuding mix of judges, politicians, consultants, lawyers and developers. Stories about shady land deals, convenient highway routing and lucrative zoning changes. Taken together, the tales painted a picture of a rapidly urbanizing county in which a lot of money could be made and rules were bent if not broken, a county that in many ways was still run much like a rural small town, with power wielded by and on behalf of a select group of people.
The FBI and U.S. attorney’s office, armed with wiretaps, subpoenas and arrest powers, apparently heard the stories as well. In the wake of an undercover federal operation, Gwinnett County Commissioner Shirley Lasseter, 64 and a veteran of local politics, recently resigned her