DAs asked to investigate Douglas

CONYERS - A Rockdale County resident has asked the district attorneys of Rockdale and Newton counties to investigate the actions of state Sen. John Douglas.

The letters were sent by Raymond Ramos, a Conyers engineer, who requested an investigation of Douglas stemming from an ongoing controversy surrounding the senator and the city of Conyers.

E-mail conversations between Douglas and Conyers Mayor Randy Mills earlier this year indicate the senator offered to guarantee passage of legislation pertaining to the city in exchange for a public apology from the city council and assurances that City Manager Tony Lucas would remain neutral during his re-election campaign against Mike Crotts.

"Essentially, I think I understand how politics work, and where I think John screwed up was when he brought in his personal agenda into the process," Ramos said Monday. "This is not about public service. This is being a bully."

Ramos indicated in the June 30 letters that he filed a complaint with the State Ethics Commission after the Douglas e-mails were brought to light in May. However, the Ethics Commission told Ramos the allegations were criminal in nature and not within their mandate to investigate.

Ramos' letters to the district attorneys cited two state statutes in his allegations against Douglas. One was for "influencing an officer or employee of state or political subdivision by another officer or employee" for Douglas promising passage of a hotel tax bill the city sought to help fund improvements at the Georgia International Horse Park.

The other claim involved obstructing or hindering law enforcement officers. Ramos alleged that Douglas had photographed Conyers police conducting traffic stops outside of city limits. During one of these stops, Douglas reportedly approached the officer and demanded he call his supervisor because the traffic stop allegedly occurred outside the city's jurisdiction.

Douglas, however, was not charged by the CPD with obstruction of officers.

Douglas' actions, Ramos said, stemmed from an October 2006 traffic stop of Douglas by an off-duty Conyers police officer inside Newton County. The officer suspected a possible case of DUI, but upon further investigation, he realized no alcohol was involved in the incident and no citation was issued.

When contacted by the Citizen on Thursday, Douglas said he had no knowledge of the allegations and believed the letters to be politically motivated.

"We're 10 days out (from the election), and they are bringing this back up," Douglas said. "We're bringing $2 million to the library in Conyers, and they're worrying about e-mails."

The letters were dated June 30 and sent to Rockdale County District Attorney Richard Read and Newton County District Attorney Ken Wynne. The letters were sent by e-mail from a "D. Oliver" late Thursday afternoon to the Rockdale Citizen and other newspapers in Douglas' Senate district.

Wynne confirmed Thursday receiving the letter but said he had not reviewed the allegations.

"I had not had a chance to review, and really that's all I can tell you at this time," Wynne said.

Read confirmed Monday he had received Ramos' letter and that he was considering the charges brought by Ramos.

"We've read it, and from my standpoint we're looking at the law and deciding what are the next steps that are necessary," Read said.

Crotts and Douglas are running against each other in the July 15 Republican primary. Douglas, R-Social Circle, is seeking a third term. Crotts held the seat for 12 years before an unsuccessful run for Congress in 2004.

Jay Jones can be reached at jay.jones@rockdalecitizen.com.