Petruzielo, aide facing ethics law complaints
by Michelle Babcock
April 02, 2014 04:00 AM | 6452 views | 8 8 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Barbara Jacoby
Barbara Jacoby
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Two Cherokee County School District officials face allegations they violated state ethics regulations during the special election to fill the seat of late Rep. Calvin Hill (R- Canton) in January.

Woodstock resident Tim Adderholdt filed complaints against Cherokee Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Petruzielo and school district spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby, alleging the two violated state law by sending emails mentioning one of the candidates during the special election in January.

Adderholdt’s complaints against Petruzielo and Jacoby were received by the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, formerly known as the State Ethics Commission, on March 26.

Adderholdt claimed in his complaints Jacoby sent emails mentioning one of the candidates, which he considered to be contributions to the candidate’s campaign.

“It’s against the law for a government entity, or anyone acting on behalf of a government entity, to contribute anything of value to a campaign,” Adderholdt said Tuesday. “I would argue the emails were extremely valuable. It’s like product placement in the movies.”

Jacoby and Petruzielo were unable to be reached for comment Tuesday, and the school district offices are closed this week because of spring break.

Adderholdt said he filed the complaints because he was “morally required to do something about it.”

“I decided to file the complaints because it’s a taxpayer’s duty to complain when taxpayer funded resources are used illegally,” he said. “I’m merely a Cherokee County taxpayer that does not approve of my tax dollars being used to advocate for any candidate, for any reason.”

Holly LaBerge, executive director of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, confirmed Monday both Jacoby and Petruzielo had been sent notices of the complaints.

LaBerge said notification of the complaints were sent through certified mail in accordance with the Campaign Finance Act.

Adderholdt said he saw the emails posted online on politicalvine.com, a web-based newsletter known for satire, and other sources online.

In his complaints, Adderholdt claims that Jacoby sent emails on Jan. 7, 8 and 15 and mentioned one of the candidates running in the special election to fill the District 22 House of Representatives seat, now held by Rep. Sam Moore (R- Canton).

Copies of the complaints that were obtained by the Tribune from the state ethic commission show emails Adderholdt said were those sent by Jacoby and were filed as part of his complaint.

“Special election day is today,” the Jan. 7 email read. “Voters who live in State House District 22 today have the opportunity to vote in a special election.”

The email reportedly went on to explain how voters could find out which district they lived in and when the polls were open that day.

The special election was Jan. 7, with a runoff election between Moore and Meagan Biello held Feb. 4. Adderholdt claims the emails violated state law because they could be considered a contribution to the Biello campaign.

One of the emails Adderholdt said he considered to be a campaign contribution mentioned Biello.

“There are four candidates, one of whom is a CCSD employee: Creekview High School teacher Meagan Biello,” the email in the complaint read. “Information about all of the candidates is online: http://www.fultongop.org/default.aspx.”

Comments
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bo duke
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April 04, 2014
I will be glad when King P is gone.
SSSociety
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April 04, 2014
The Superintendent Suckup Society is out in full force in these comments.

No matter. The guy's a crook and clearly broke laws here by using publicly-funded property to campaign on behalf of district employee Biello.

And the idea that the clown was ignorant of the law is laughable, seeing how he did the same thing in his utterly-failed campaign against Amendment 1's passage in 2012.

The superintendent and all his suckups should stick to education. They're terrible at politics.
Josh Markham
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April 02, 2014
I believe these charges will go the sane way as the charges Kelly Marlow has been levying against the district. They are spurious, at best.
Woodstock Resident
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April 02, 2014
I’m so glad the Meagan Biello campaign is finally getting reprimanded for all the ethical violations during the special election. There are several more hopefully that will be reported too. I wonder how Jeff Duncan feels about this since he lost to Biello by two votes? I believe how a candidate runs a campaign shows their character and how they perform in office. Already breaking rules before you're even elected is a HUGE RED FLAG. Especially if you are not reporting contributions correctly and on time. What are you hiding????? Not very transparent.

Hopefully Wes Cantrell will read up on his ethics rules to know you can't use the church for campaigning like M Biello used her students and school.

Then there is incumbent, Sam Moore, who apparently has broken no rules, reports all contributions on time and goes to see voters to talk with them instead of just running negative campaign ads. He also has the most conservative voting record in the House and has represented himself exactly as he told us he would. Finally an honest and accountable candidate to represent us.

Collette Osborne
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April 02, 2014
After reading your comment; I have to wonder if Mr. Moore told his supporters about his intent to change the sex offender's law that protects children from predators. And if so, why on earth did you vote for him?

Now while I do believe his intent was not to endanger children; clearly this man didn't do his homework on this issue. That fact shows he is not competent as a representative. This state state already has too much incompetence in the legislature we don't need more of the same.
SarahJessica
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April 02, 2014
"Mentioning" a candidate's name and "contributing" to his/her campaign are NOT the same. This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard! I received the emails in question, and never once did I (or my colleagues) feel pressured to vote for Ms. Biello. Spreading lies about Dr. Petruzielo and Ms. Jacoby does nothing but bring negative publicity to our school system and county. Please find something better to do with your time than filing bogus ethics charges!
Woodstock Resident
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April 03, 2014
By "Mentioning" Meaghan Biello's name and ONLY HER name in these emails is what the problem was. Had they sent out an email advising there was an election and they mentioned all of the candidates names then that would be educational for the students/parents and would not have violated any ethics rules. These rules are there for a reason no matter how "ridiculous" you think they are, and they very much did break them. There was absolutely a bias to the emails since they only mentioned her. Also, what "lies" are being spread? It looks perfectly cut and dry to me that a rule was broken and they got caught. Ignorance of rules are no excuse.
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