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UPDATE: Lasseter Pleads Guilty To Accepting Bribe

Former Duluth mayor has resigned as Gwinnett commissioner. Her son, a former Gwinnett zoning official, pleaded guilty to bribery and drug trafficking charges.

 Updated June 1

Shirley Lasseter, whose Gwinnett Board of Commissioners District 1 included Suwanee and Duluth, has pleaded guilty to accepting a bribe, federal authorities confirmed Thursday.

Lasseter's sentencing is set for Aug. 6, and she faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine up to a $250,000, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Atlanta.

The Duluth resident resigned her Gwinnett office Thursday. She accepted $36,500 in bribes from an undercover FBI agent posing as a South Florida real estate developer, authorities said. The bribe concerned her support for a proposed development on Boggs Road.

Lasseter is the third Gwinnett commissioner in less than two years to resign from office amid accusations of wrongdoing. Charles Bannister and Kevin Kenerly resigned in 2010 in the wake of a grand jury investigation of dubious land deals.

Lasseter, a former mayor of Duluth, said earlier this year that she would not seek re-election to the Board of Commissioners.

Also implicated in the bribery scheme were Lasseter's son, John Fanning, and businessman Carl "Skip" Cain of Flowery Branch. Fanning and Cain pleaded guilty to participating in the bribery scheme and to drug trafficking.

During this time, Lasseter's son, John Fanning, was an appointed member of the Gwinnett Zoning Board of Appeals -- appointed by his mother. The appointment came when the Gwinnett commission had no chairman -- Charles Bannister resigned in October 2010, and Charlotte Nash took office in March 2012

All three have been released on $10,000 signature bonds.

Lasseter sold [the influence of] her office and “betrayed the citizens who voted for her,” said U.S. Attorney Sally Yates during a press conference announcing the guilty pleas Thursday at the Richard Russell Building in Atlanta. “Today’s guilty pleas are part of an ongoing effort to root out public corruption in Gwinnett County,” she said.

In September, the federal complaint said, Fanning and Cain flew to the New York area to assist in collecting what they thought would be a multiple-kilogram shipment of cocaine. They spent the night in New York and flew back with "four kilograms of purported cocaine," and Fanning and Cain each took possession of two kilograms of the substance so they could deliver it to a prospective buyer, the complaint said.

Fanning and Cain also face 10 years each in prison and fines of up to $250,000 after pleading guilty to the bribery charge. They face mandatory terms of five years each based on their guilty plea for drug trafficking.


 

Courtney June 02, 2012 at 02:16 PM
You do the Crime; then do the time. She deserves at least 10 years.
Moonpie June 03, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Ah times are tough... so our leaders should take drug money to supplement income by taking bribes in conjunction/direct connection with known drug leaders (undercover FBI agent) for the sale of county land. Boboma... being naive to the fact does not excuse ignorance... she plead GUILTY. She did it... those are the facts... she betrayed our trust and her office. Dude... wake-up!
Moonpie June 04, 2012 at 01:04 AM
Gail... I do appreciate your optimism. However, are you not aware of the financial ruin that our country is in? You do recognize that many "questionable" deals for county land have been passed through the current county representatives. As for having a superior school system... that has nothing to do with county board and everything to do with hardworking educators (who I will add have NOT had a raise in three years). As for the park system... I would rather see the money applied to feeding the hungry of Gwinnett... instead of giving them a park bench to sleep on. Please understand my tone... this is not being rude but rather informing you that this issue is a lot deeper and more corrupt than people are giving it credit.
Gail Lane June 04, 2012 at 03:01 AM
Moonpie - I am often considered an eternal optimist, but I am also realistic. I moved to Gwinnett in 1996 because it was a good place to race my family, build my business, and create a home. I hold Ms. Lasseter wholly and individually responsible for her actions; not the County Commission as a whole. There are honest people left in politics, they sometimes make the headlines in news sources, but they rarely get this kind of vehement commentary. I don't "see" your tone as rude, but I understand the weary attitude that tends to point us towards pessimism and distrust. I refuse to draw conclusions with such a broad brush. Maybe that's that "glass half full" attitude.
Moonpie June 04, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Gail... With your half full glass and my half empty glass... our bottle is completely drained :(. Now we have to go to the store and buy another bottle :). You are correct to say that Mrs. Lasseter is singularly responsible for this individual action...not the entire board. However, in the last 5 years the current members have not been saints either (and actually way before that too). I believe as a whole... Gwinnett is tired of the corruption, misrepresentation, and abuse of at least 3 of our appointed leaders. I look forward to reading your optimistic views on future posts. Thank you for your interest in our county... we need you :)

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