Six months after Bob Lundsten broke news on his blog that prompted a city council executive session leak investigation which has, to date, cost the city nearly $100,000, he has revealed his source.
Bonnie Brucker wrote a letter obtained by The Crier which states that she revealed details to Lundsten about the city’s plans for the PVC farm, details that Brucker said she heard from Adrian Bonser. Brucker’s letter was received by the city on Friday, Aug. 3.
Brucker wrote that she went to Bonser’s home on the evening of Friday, Feb. 3, to get a house key and instructions for house sitting. Bonser was leaving the following day on a vacation trip to New Zealand. Members of city council, including Bonser, met earlier that day in executive session.
“She (Bonser) began talking about the PVC Farm,” wrote Brucker. “She told me that negotiations were in progress to have John Wieland build housing units (duplexes I believe) on the property, the general price range and other details.”
After leaving Bonser’s home, Brucker wrote that she ran into Lundsten at a nearby gas station and broached the topic of the PVC farm to see if he had more information about the deal.
“Evidently he did not because he made no comment, but asked me if the information I gave him was discussed in executive session,” wrote Brucker.
Brucker wrote that she realized at that moment that Lundsten did not have prior knowledge of the transaction and that the information was not yet public.
“So the information he posted in his blog was based on information I had given him, and which was given to me by Adrian,” wrote Brucker.
Matthew Reeves, Bonser’s attorney wrote a letter to the Board of Ethics on Tuesday, Aug. 7 denouncing Brucker’s claims.
“Bob Lundsten’s blog entry and Ms. Bruckner’s prepared statement do not match,” wrote Reeves.
Reeves wrote that Lundsten’s blog post of Feb. 6 read as follows: “Within hours of the executive session, I received several calls informing what had taken place in that session. I then made several calls to confirm what I had been told (I did not ask any councilmen). Seems I was not the only one who knew what happened Friday morning.”
Reeves’ letter states that Brucker came to Bonser’s home at approximately 7:15 p.m. on Feb. 3 and that Bonser did not speak to Brucker about city business or executive session business. The letter from Reeves also states that Bonser’s husband, Brian, was in attendance and confirmed that the conversation between Adrian Bonser and Brucker was about house-sitting business, not city business.
According to Attorney Bob Wilson’s investigative report on the leak, Lundsten called Councilman John Heneghan from the Taste of Dunwoody event on the evening of Friday, Feb. 3. In that call, Lundsten reportedly told Heneghan that he knew about the sale of the 16 acres and John Wieland Homes involvement. Heneghan did not comment since he did not attend the executive session.
The Wilson report also states that Lundsten knew about the topic of the executive session meeting within hours of the meeting, and that Mayor Mike Davis began receiving calls about the meeting’s subject matter by mid-day on Feb. 3.
Reeves’ letter states that the Taste of Dunwoody event began at 7 p.m. on Feb. 3 and that the PVC farm was already being discussed at the event. Bonser did not attend the event as she was preparing to travel and was meeting with Brucker about house sitting, wrote Reeves.
In light of all the facts, wrote Reeves, including the fact that Lundsten’s blog entry was published days later on Feb. 6, Bonser is concerned that Brucker might have snooped through her personal papers when Brucker was house sitting, later divulging executive session information from Bonser’s private notes, to Brucker’s friend, Bob Lundsten.
“This house sitter’s belated alleged witness statement is too little, too late, and contradicts Bob Lundsten’s blog entry,” wrote Reeves. “Dr. Bonser renews her request for the complaint to be dismissed.”
Reeves’ letter to the Board of Ethics includes a statement that Lundsten was sent a demand letter to reveal his alleged source.
“Lundsten engaged counsel, who presumably wrote Ms. Brucker’s ‘statement’,” wrote Reeves.
Lundsten’s attorney, Kathryn M. Zickert, responded to the demand letter from Reeves and enclosed the letter from Brucker.
“Quite frankly, I cannot for the life of me understand the basis for your letter of July 31, 2012, directed to my friend and client Robert Lundsten,” wrote Zickert. “Since when does the failure to respond to an attorney’s demand constitute an “admission” of anything?”
Zickert wrote that this nonsense needs to end and that she was enclosing a statement from Bonnie Brucker who is the oh-so-mysterious “source.”
“I trust that my provision of this statement is fully responsive to your ‘demand’,” wrote Zickert.
Brucker’s letter states that she was not willing to remain silent after six months.
“It has become evident that unless I come forward, this situation will continue to drain the city coffers of much needed revenue, not to mention cause even more vitriol and divisiveness within our community,” wrote Brucker.
Members of the Board of Ethics are also expressing concern about the cost of this investigation. In meeting last week, Janet Webb, a member of the board, said that as long as someone else is footing the bill, this could go on a long time.
“I think this (process) needs to be efficient, practical and to the point,” said Webb.
The board also discussed adopting a newly drafted by-laws and procedures document, and scheduling future hearings.
The board made a few changes and then voted to adopt the by-laws and procedures document which was drafted by the city attorney and Richard Carothers, the board’s attorney.
Ethic charges were filed against all members of city council, the mayor, the former city attorney and the current city manager and the board has received multiple motions to dismiss these complaints. The board plans to first hold hearings on motions to dismiss ethics complaints. If ethics charges are not dismissed, then the board will schedule evidentiary hearings.
Initial hearings are not expected to begin until September.