ATLANTA GA—Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard has agreed to pay a state ethics fine of $6,500 to the ethics commission for failing to reveal his position as the CEO of two non-profits, one of the non-profit organizations netted him $195,000 in city grant money. According to the state ethics commission, a consent agreement with Howard was approved on Thursday, August 6. Howard was accused of 14 state violations.
Howard said in a statement that he was pleased to get the issue settled. He criticized unidentified critics and indicated they have compared the ethics violations with criminal behavior.
“Their arguments have been false, as they were well aware, and were made only to gain political advantage,” said Howard. “The action filed by the commission has always been administrative and today they have delivered a death blow to those who raised false messages by disposing of the complaint, merely assessing an administrative penalty.”
There is an ongoing criminal investigation of Howard for cushioning his pay with $195,000 of the $250,000 in grant money in two separate checks that were signed over to Howard by the city of Atlanta’s District Attorney’s Office.
Both checks were deposited into the bank account of Howard’s People Partnering for Progress nonprofit (a nonprofit that indicates its mission is to reduce youth violence). During the investigation, it was noted that Howard wrote out checks to the DA for the next several years.
Howard was accused of more violations, involving involving a nonprofit called, The Academy of Progress Inc. which he was the CEO of from 2016 to 2019. Howard failed to mention his position at the nonprofit organization on financial disclosure forms.
Executive director David Emadi, of the Atlanta state ethics commission, credited the AJC and Channel 2 on Thursday with bringing the issue to the commission’s attention. Chairman of the ethics commission, Jake Evans indicated that the commission was satisfied with the agreement.
The GBI investigation was done at the request of Attorney General Chris Carr. Spokeswoman Nelly Miles stated, “The GBI investigation is active and ongoing.”
Howard will face attorney Fani Willis, in Tuesday’s general election. During the Democratic primary in June, Fani Willis finished first with 42 percent of the vote, while Howard finished with 35 percent of the vote. He stated that after the ethics complaint was filed he instructed his attorney to amend his 2015-2019 financial statements, so they would satisfy the commission’s requirements.
“My hope was this would be completed prior to the District Attorney’s election, so Fulton County citizens could be clear about this matter,” Howard said of the resolution. “Thank God. this has happened.” He added that he would be exonerated.
Canyon News reached out Fulton County District Attorney’s office for comment, but did not hear back before print.