Fayette County News

Fayette County


Tax commission candidate’s claims turn out to be completely false

Tax commissioner candidate Rasheed Dawodu’s campaign mailer suggests he has the experience and training to be tax commissioner while also stating that Kristie King, who has been a deputy tax commissioner for five years, does not.

Twice before now, we at this newspaper have reported that at least some of what Fayette County Tax Commissioner candidate Rasheed Dawodu has claimed on the campaign trail this year has turned out to be false, and now we’ve discovered that more of those claims are also false.

As well, Dawodu’s campaign has recently mailed out a flyer that contains even more factual errors about serious matters, and as they are of the sort that are intentionally meant to mislead and sway voters, we want to highlight them here in this column to at least make our readers aware of the truth.

If you’ve attended a function where Dawodu has spoken of his opponent Kristie King, who currently serves as Chief Deputy Tax Commissioner of Fayette County, you’ve probably heard him say he is the most qualified person to replace retiring Tax Commissioner George Wingo, and you’ve probably heard him call King unqualified. Dawodu points to his lengthy resume of work experience, training, certification, and community involvement that he says make him the best choice for the job, some of which we have found to be falsified information, and then he literally makes stuff up about King.

As we pointed out in an earlier publication, one of Dawodu’s chief work experience claims is that he was employed full-time by the Dekalb County Tax Commissioner’s Office in Property Tax Registration. Officials from that office have confirmed by letter and by telephone interviews that the office does not do “property tax registration,” and, in fact, after an extensive search of their records, they revealed that Dawodu was never a full-time employee. He simply worked as temporary, part-time help in the mail room getting tags shipped out.

On Monday afternoon of this week, we finally heard back from the State of Georgia Office of Treasury and Fiscal Services, where Dawodu claims to have been the cash management officer overseeing the whole state. That, too, turns out to be a false claim.

According to Deputy Treasurer Scott Austensen, Dawodu did work in that office between Nov. 14, 2005 and Apr. 1, 2011, but his title was financial operations specialist. Essentially, he was a clerk who handled paperwork to do with some, but not all, state agencies’ bank account contracts. Austensen explained that banks must agree to a standard state contract in order to do business with certain state offices, and Dawodu would have helped keep that paperwork organized and up to date.

Austensen said Dawodu was involved with “no budgets” and “no cash management.” Dawodu was responsible for ensuring banks delivered the customer service they promised.

“It’s a fairly administrative role in that sense,” Austensen said.

Now let’s look at this latest campaign mailer, which literally (see image above) says Kristie King has “no” training nor certification for tax commissioner. First of all, according to Wingo, the current tax commissioner, none of Dawodu’s training and certification claims are relevant to his job. Secondly, King, who has worked for Wingo for 15 years and has been a deputy tax commissioner for five of those years, has extensive training, both on the job and in state-recognized classroom settings. In fact, she has 96 hours of directly-related credits since 2010, not counting all of the other training opportunities, conferences and such.

Community inovlvement? Dawodu claims to take part in Fayette Visioning, but he says King has nothing. He must be unaware that King was distinguished this year as a Leadership Fayette graduate.

Perhaps the most ridiculous claim in the mailer is that King has no work experience for tax commissioner, or that Dawodu’s experience is the “best,” depending on how you interpret the wording. But again, we only contacted two of Dawodu’s former employers, and it turns out those jobs had nothing to do with any sort of management, leadership, or financial experience.

And what has King being up to? According to Wingo, who retires in January, “She’s been running the place the last couple of years.”

Some of you readers may think I’m picking on Dawodu. I’m really not. I took no part at all in this until I learned that we had another candidate this year who was generating complete fiction to boost themselves while simultaneously tearing down their opponent, which in this case was completely baseless.

And now you know the truth.