Charles Bannister’s letter of resignation as Gwinnett commission chairman

In the midst of a grand jury probe over land deals, Gwinnett County Commission Chairman Charles Bannister has resigned, citing health reasons. The AJC has snagged the letter announcing his decision.

“It is with deep regret that I announce my immediate resignation as Chairman of the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners.

“While I am proud of Gwinnett County Government’s many accomplishments over the past six years and had hoped to guide more of this Board’s work to completion, I find myself near the end of an extremely trying year that has placed an undeserved strain on my family and has threatened my own health.

“I believe that stepping down at this time is necessary to preserve my family’s well-being and will allow the important business of Gwinnett County to move forward without further distraction.”

First thought: Republicans must be breathing a sigh of relief that state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, whose political base is Gwinnett, didn’t win that primary for governor.

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77 comments Add your comment

Mike

October 8th, 2010
10:14 am

Guess he wants to spend time with his family before he goes to jail.

Gwinnett Democrat

October 8th, 2010
10:16 am

Mr. Bannister is a conservative, who is not conservative enough for the extreme right and is being forced out by far right by Tea Party like people. Mr. Bannister is a Republican, but in some ways the opposition to his leadership is similar to what Mr. Obama is facing from the Tea Party people, but on a level scaled to county politics and in-party GOP fighting between more reasonable republicans like Bannister and the far right faction who are nostalgic for a white washed rural Gwinnett that no longer exist and will never exist again.

The new majority population in Gwinnett must wake up and get more actively involved in the political process. If Bannister is not “conservative enough” for the powers that be, then surely we know that these same far right leaning people do not have the interests of Gwinnett’s majority Asian, Hispanic, Black/African/Caribbean population.

I wish Mr. Bannister the best in his new endeavors.

Gee is that a surprise

October 8th, 2010
10:22 am

Hmmm. kinda gotta wonder what the future holds for a few folks in Gwinnett County ……

The State of Georgia has been breathing a sight of relief that the Ox did not win the primary. The Republicans probably wish there was a way to get No Deal for GA off the November Ballot and Karen Handel’s name on it. As it is, I am going to have to vote for King Roy. At least you know what you are getting. No telling what No Deal has up his sleeves. I would not doubt that he would copy Charles Walker (a Democratic crook) and put a “Show Me the Money Sign” on his desk. I don’t think he was allowed to take that yo jail with him No Deal, you might be able to buy it from him …….

Shotgunplanet

October 8th, 2010
10:24 am

At least he had the good “conservative” sense to FORCE trash collection through property taxation before he hits the links. Good riddance MR Anti Constitution, just wished this would have happened sooner!

Mike

October 8th, 2010
10:25 am

GA Democrat, why do you and your fellow Democrats always inject race into every situation. What Bannister has been doing to this county he deserves what he is getting now.

[...] 9:50 a.m. Gwinnett County Commission Chairman Charles Bannister has resigned, effective immediately says his lawyer. Check back soon for updates. His resignation letter. Story. Political Insider. [...]

Joe Bob Perteat

October 8th, 2010
10:30 am

Gotta love a brave guy like ” Mike,” who sends a man to jail prior to formal accusation, trial and conviction. Mike is too ignorant to be a fascist. Probably just an ignorant teabagging hick.

Mack

October 8th, 2010
10:31 am

@Gwinnett Democrat~It is not a case of Democrat or Republican, Black or White, Conservative or Liberal or anything other than Bannister being guilty of Land Deals that, if a mortgage would have been involved there is a good chance he would have been guilty of mortgage fraud. I think Mike hit the nail on the head. Can you say perjury…sure you can.

DifferentDrummer

October 8th, 2010
10:35 am

The Gwinnet County Republicans are losing their stranglehold on the county. As Gwinnett Democrat correctly notes, there’s a new and vibrant group of voters who have moved into Gwinnett and are going to get the county back to focusing on matters near and dear to their families and communities, and not worrying about taking care of Republican developers.

BTW, Charlie Bannister won’t be the only county commissioner who will be indicted. Stay tuned.

greg best

October 8th, 2010
10:36 am

What? A crooked Republican? That’s impossible!!

James

October 8th, 2010
10:39 am

I sure wish the Henry County District Attorney would conduct a similar investigation into strange land deals between the county and developers. I commend the Gwinnett District Attorney efforts to clean up public corruption and wasteful spending by the elected officials.

BV

October 8th, 2010
10:41 am

Does this mean that there is a slight chance that we can get our property taxes lowered since Bannister won’t be selling us out?

I know a lot of people, including myself, are doing the happy dance!

Casual Observer

October 8th, 2010
10:42 am

I find it somewhat humerous that a guy named Joe Bob is calling someone else a hick.

johnny fontane

October 8th, 2010
10:43 am

Charlie finally got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. The Grand Jury did what Sheriff Butch couldn’t do. I guess now ole Chuck will have plenty of time to get his drink on.

Gwinnett GOP

October 8th, 2010
10:43 am

Charles Bannister is a good and honorable man. This was an effort to run him out of office by the gold ole boys. Gwinnett will probably get Wayne Hill’s lady Charlotte Nash who led us into the financial problems we are in now.

Willx

October 8th, 2010
10:46 am

Bannister is republican in name only. He’s nothing but a crooked politician that used the D&R coin toss. Soon his buddies will join him. Feel the heat yet Coach Com Kevin Kenerly? Look for many more indictments. Time to clean out the political cess pool of crooks and thieves of both political party’s, here and everywhere in Metro Atlanta. We can’t afford old school politicians anymore. And we certainly can’t afford Obama, the leader of the Democrat party.

Cam

October 8th, 2010
10:53 am

Why is it that the people posting have to ridicule someone else’s remarks? While many of us suspect the “real” reason for him resigning, it’s the attackers blaming politics, tea party, racists …. who make themselves look ignorant. Wait and find out what’s to come before you try to justify the resignation. Personally, I’m glad to be rid of him & I’m Hispanic.

Cera

October 8th, 2010
10:53 am

Although the picture is clear, most Republicans are in denial. The old rural gwinnett county is no more. Years ago the mood was to keep out the undesirables by keeping Marta out. Well, let history show, you can not stop progress and if you want things to remain the same, keep moving north and you may end up in New York, how tragic. Why do we Democrats talk about and to the diversity in the county? Because we can. Why are Republican scared to have diversity discussions? Because they can not talk to that which they have no experience, hence a poor representation for the changing faces of Gwinnett.

Gwinnett Democrat

October 8th, 2010
10:55 am

On the surface this appears to be singularly about shady land deals, which might be true; but this is also a cover for deeper reasons to attack Mr. Bannister. The far right powers that be in Gwinnett County are angry at Bannister for leading last year’s property tax hike that kept Gwinnett’s police and fire operating at appropriate safety levels and kept public safety workers’ jobs. No one likes an increase in taxes, but there was no choice but to raise taxes or suffer a severe downturn in public safety in Gwinnett.

There is friction between Sheriff Conway and Bannister that borders the “very personal”. Prosecutor Danny Porter has a grudge against the commissioners because his office did not get all of the financial resources that they wanted. The alleged shady land is a way to “legitimize” the attack on Mr. Bannister; but believe me it is far beyond just allegedly crooked land deals.

If there were not very personal grudges among Gwinnett republicans in a power struggle; then the shady land deal issue would never have been pushed to the point of indictment.

CB

October 8th, 2010
11:00 am

It amazes me that most of these people commenting are trying to turn this into a political Democrat vs. Republican issue. These Gwinnett County Commissioners have been ripping off the tax payers for years with their shady land and development deals. Bannister is not the only one and I hope they indict each and every one of them. This is not a racial issue or a political issue. It is simply an issue of greedy people in places of power.

Patriot

October 8th, 2010
11:05 am

It is about time! Also, it seems’ as if some people want’s to make it a race issue and a political party problem. This is just a small tip of the political crooked problems that have plagued Gwinnett County for years. Underhanded land deals and etc., have been occurring for years by the select group of the people whom run the county whether they are in office or not. I hope that other dealing’s will be investigated { which I do not really think they will}. Also, in regard’s to the cut’s in county services’ due to lower property taxes, just my property tax bill along was based on the 2004 year, instead of the current market price, which is considerable lower than their apprisal. I would like to see this investigation of fraud expand to our city/ state/federal government. All of the political office’s need a good cleaning. Corruption is rampant.

Pompano

October 8th, 2010
11:14 am

CB – your comment is dead-on.

Why is it that the 2 organizations always trying to muscle their way into the Waste Industry are Gwinnet County Gov’t and the mob?

Gwinnett Democrat

October 8th, 2010
11:16 am

Race, class, and immigration are the ELEPHANTS in the room in Gwinnett County. They are inescapable when speaking about politics and economics in Gwinnett County. Gwinnett is majority Non-white County struggling to emerge as a county that represents all of the people in county. In large measure this GOP in-fighting is because of the threat of the changes that have and continue to occur with Gwinnett’s changing demographics. There is a lot of fear about losing control and misplaced nostalgia.

DifferentDrummer

October 8th, 2010
11:17 am

Everybody wants government that works, but some think you can do it for nothing. In this frenzied attack on all tax increases, the question must always be whether the reason for the increase can be justifed. I doubt that anyone who knows anything about running a government agency understands that you can’t do it for nothing. You want safe and clean streets; good water service; a good school system; professional law enforcement; a properly operating district attorneys office, you have to pay for it. Why is it that those of us who work in the private sector think that only we are capable of deciding what’s waste and what’s not? I’ve worked in both governmnet and the private sector. I’ve seen plenty of waste in the privatye sector. There are no private companies out there that are run poorly, that don’t have waste that the customer doesn’t pay for?

If you want government that works, you can’t expect it to run without revenue. As taxpaeyrs,we have a right to know what it costs and a responsibility to challenge it when we think it’s costing too much, but we ought not think foolishly it can be done for free.

BV

October 8th, 2010
11:20 am

The posters can make all the excuses about parties, personal vendettas, etc. IMO… we got ripped off for the property on Rabbit Hill Road and I’m glad that someone is going to take the fall for it.

For those of us who are surviving on the current economy and knowing that the BOC obviously got enriched by the land deals all I can say is – Mr. Bannister, if you have to go to the Dept of Labor in Norcross, take something to read because you’ll be waiting for help for a very long time. Those people get paid by the hour and they don’t care how many people they serve in one day!

catlady

October 8th, 2010
11:20 am

We are sick and tired of corruption! We are tired of the “connected” getting special benefits while the rest of us hard working, honest folks suffer.

Willx

October 8th, 2010
11:22 am

You are correct CB, and former Commission Chairman Wayne Hill’s name can be found deep in the contracts if anyone is willing to look hard enough. Wayne loves to cozy up to his old friends and neighbors, buy old family land right out from under them at bargain basement prices, then making huge profits on the resale while hiding his involvement deep in the contract under a company name. The only reason he keeps horses on his crook-derosa is for the over the top tax deduction.

daniel

October 8th, 2010
11:25 am

How will resignation affect Briscoe airport expansion?

The expansion would destroy many peoples quality of life and their home value that live near
Briscoe airport.

Last Man Standing

October 8th, 2010
11:25 am

I lived in Gwinnett County (Centerville area to be exact) from 1980 until 1998 and truly enjoyed living there. In the mid 1990’s, the coming change to the Centerville/Snellville area became apparent. I could see that Gwinnett was about to undergo the same changes that DeKalb had experienced. I decided then that it was time to go “home” to middle Georgia. I sold my home in Gwinnett and left. The passagge of time since then has proven me correct. Crime is epidemic in that area now with armed robberies, homicides and home invasion robberies still on the increase.

If this is what Cera calls “progress”, I guess that Gwinnett is now getting more than its’ share of it.

kindergarden math

October 8th, 2010
11:25 am

As for Oxendine’s “base” , he did not even carry Gwinnett in the primary, did he ?

Willx

October 8th, 2010
11:28 am

The Briscoe airfield expansion is nothing but getting back at the Gwinnett taxpayers against Bannister. 200,000 jobs? Yea RIGHT! Chucky. He knew his time was up. His spite knows no bounds.

concerned

October 8th, 2010
11:28 am

You people that keep throwing the word “indict” around, do you even know what the issue related to the proposed indictment was? Do you really believe that your DA is doing what’s best for your county? It may be time for some of you to pay attention to the few that seem to have way too much power…

organicgrl

October 8th, 2010
11:29 am

This is probably one of the best days of my year..I really wished he would have done this sooner when the baseball field was in the works and before he stuffed the lawrenceville taxpayers with the trash…

I guess it is true: Better late than NEVER!!

Gwinnett voter

October 8th, 2010
11:30 am

Some people see race and democrats vs. republican in everything. This is not about race or any political party (no party has a monopoly on crooks – nor honest people). Put aside your racism for a moment and realize the plain simple fact that these commissioners were working for their own best interests – not the counties. It had nothing to do with race, political party, etc and everything to do with greed. If they were taking bribes or enriching their friends at the counties expense, I hope they go to jail.

Kiljoy

October 8th, 2010
11:35 am

Kennerly and Lassiter should do the right and decent thing and resign but they won’t!

Willx

October 8th, 2010
11:44 am

Camie Young, the un-official mouthpiece for chucky Bannister, coach Kenerly and other corrupt Gwinnett Commissioners should also resign.

clay blanchard

October 8th, 2010
11:57 am

THANK YOU MR PORTER, I am sure the $5.7m that you halted can be spent on more prudent expenses at a time when more and more taxpayers are struggling to make ends meet. I hope the Grand Jury will make it known what these developers originally paid for these properties. Given the downturn in the economy I would think all 4 county purchases should have been purchased at discounted prices. Lets see, my $300k house is now worth about $250k so lets hope those developers got the same deal. I will not be surprised if significant profits were made on each property.

Patriot

October 8th, 2010
11:57 am

I agree that taxation is necessary to obtain funds to operate services which we have grown accustomed to and some are necessary. However, wasteful spending of tax dollar’s are rampant in city/county/state/federal government! Tax-payer’s have the right to question their elected represented official’s and demand accountability. I, have personnally contacted Bannister concerning an issue and received a rebuke from him instead of an explanation. What elected official’s tend to forget once they are in office, that they work for the taxpayer, not the elistist/developer’s/ special interest group’s, they work for each taxpayer. What have we the taxpayer’s received from our elected official’s — more & more taxation; more & more restricted law’s on our “Freedom”. Just look at the arrogancy by Barack H. Obama and the White House along with the Congress and Senate. Our “Freedom” is being taken away each and every day starting in the cities/counties/state and the Federal Gov.! No longer is our Constitution being followed and it is reflected as such every day.
In neighboring Dekalb County, a man whom planted a garden and gave the vegetables’ was cited and takened to Court where a judge fined him $5000.00 for the violation of County Ordinance. Even here in Gwinnett County if you place two (2) trash can’s out to be picked-up by the Garbage people, you can and will receive either a warning or citation for having an extra trash can! So, with this I mind I would like to see a cleaning of our County Gov., and it is a good start with Bannister. And by the way, for those whom holler race & etc., it isn’t about political parties, it is about CORRUPTION!

Dacula voter

October 8th, 2010
12:03 pm

Not really sure where some of the liberals on here are coming from but by and large the people who have been calling for Bannister’s head have been…..Republicans.

As for those talking about how Gwinnett is changing and will soon be Democratic…you’re right. Gwinnett will soon be a northern Dekalb and Clayton and the exodus will continue. The biggest winners? Jackson, Barrow, Walton, Hall and Dawson counties.

BRW

October 8th, 2010
12:05 pm

“but by and large the people who have been calling for Bannister’s head have been…..Republicans”

Republicans also elected him, correct?

findog

October 8th, 2010
12:12 pm

Why don’t you ask Wayne, or Newt, how it feels to be eaten by your own?
Shackelford, Moreland, Reynolds, and friends carved up Gwinnett and then enriched themselves trading LLC’s back and forth.
Had it not been for the economic crash of President George W. Bush their Ponzi scheme would still be paying out millions for swamp land and farms bought and rezoned to subdivision just before the Gwinnett DOT needed right of way for a new road.
The commissioner was just the last man standing [no illicit internal blog reference inferred] with a bag of poop they were paying millions for…

findog

October 8th, 2010
12:20 pm

DD @ 11:17
The politicians looked at the millage rate as the tax. As growth paid for more government and property values soared they were proud to proclaim they were cutting taxes every year; but he home owner was getting a higher tax bill every non-election year, while the commissioners were cutting ribbons on parks and libraries.
These good godly republicans all though that Ponzi schemes only involved Wall Street and now they are shocked that they’ve been hood winked by the republicans that have been running their county for thirty years…
Well, at least they got a couple of High School football championships out of it.

Cera

October 8th, 2010
12:32 pm

Like I said, you can take flight and enjoy the colder weather up north or the silent stretches of back woods down south. The Gwinnett crime statistics is what it is, but do you take flight whenever you are presented with a challenge in life? If neighbors became neighborly, maybe, just maybe some of the crime will start to fade.

To “last man standing” since you can’t seem to remove yourself out of the Gwinnett county conversations, maybe you need to consider moving back in and work on making a positive difference.

Back to Bannister, if he did the crime, he should do the time, and his party affiliation is not a part of the equation.

findog

October 8th, 2010
12:34 pm

A simple investigative bit of journalism would be to look at where the Gwinnett DOT extended roads on their own, especially state routes.
For starters look at Sugarloaf past Grayson Highway.
Check the parcel sales data and the rezoning request that was approved just prior to the acquisition phase of the project?
The LLC developer buys 100+ acres and Gwinnett County buys the twenty needed for the road at about the same price. Net gain of eighty prime acres of real estate for free; then see if they even developed the land as rezoned to the highest available value after they sold off the right of way.
You’ll think the Ox and his dad were pikers once you finish that one…

Roska

October 8th, 2010
1:06 pm

I want whatever GwinnettGOP is smoking. “Bannister forced out by the good old boys”

Bannister IS the good old boy doling out favors for the other good old boys. Good riddance to King Charles the Crookhearted.

Cera

October 8th, 2010
1:07 pm

I want to take a minute to suggest to the individuals who espouse it is not about race; it is about race. Who do you think was involved in these land deals? It may perhaps be easy for you to say because it is hard for you to see the behavior that has become a norm. A person exhibits it and do not realize it because it is their norm. You actually have a scotoma to your own racism. You think you are not racist because you are constantly giving it within the context of you. If you were on the receiving end, you would know and be able to identify it immediately because you have seen it time and time again. So for the lack of knowledge about race and racism, please do not discount the conversation simply because you feel uncomfortable about the topic.

BV

October 8th, 2010
1:42 pm

@Cera… are you trying to pick a fight or something? We’ve been having a very good discussion here but you keep trying to interject topics that don’t appear relevant.

What exactly are you trying to say that we’re not getting?

Georgia Pete

October 8th, 2010
1:59 pm

Gwinnett County is as corrupt as the Nazi Gestapo was. In fact the G in Gwinnett stands for GESTAPO!!!!!! The practices in the prosecutors office, probation offices and the jail are abysmal. When the Supreme Court ruled, 35 years ago, that prosecutors could not be sued for prosecutorial misconduct ( withholding evidence, lying, lack of speedy trials, jailing people on charges for which there is no evidence [until a trial], failure to file proper paperwork, etc.) Gwinnett County has gone to town making the smallest of traffic violations a major industry in the county. I know many people, who, while they deserve to be on probation, are trapped in a system that is designed for failure, not success for those who truly want to change. Many do not- they suffer the consequences. I still beleive in the framework of our constitution on which this precept is founded: far better to let a guilty man go free than for an innocent to be incarcerated. The corruption is Gwinnett is rampant, elections are a joke, justice never sees, finds or seeks to find the truth. Porter and Conway are just as much a part of the problem as the crooked politicians. When Bannister was arrested, Conway started with an internal investigation….yes the foxes do guard the chicken house. Then it went to the GBI, but who says they are any less corrupt?
Why can’t there be a tea party movement here to get all the crooks out?

Perimeter Progressive

October 8th, 2010
2:02 pm

Thank God. Regardless of the man’s politics — and I never agreed with those to begin with — the millions of taxpayer dollars that he and his cronies have wasted on useless land deals is unforgivable. No wonder this county is broke.

JT

October 8th, 2010
2:16 pm

@Cera,

Please explain the racism behind the land deal and crooked county commissioners. I believe Gwinnett County has done a decent job at embracing the social shift. Though I disagree with Cynthia Tucker 99% of the time, she actually hit it on the head a few weeks ago concerning education. The graduation rates of black males are almost double in Gwinnett County as compared to City of Atlanta where the majority of the administration is minority. Regardless Bannister and the land deals have NOTHING to do with race.