McDade AJC Story part 1: Open your eyes Douglas County
Posted in the Powder Springs Forum
#1 Jun 9, 2013
This story is on the pay side of AJC. It is to big for one post. This guy is a real winner.
Teflon DA faces fresh scrutiny"
Over a 31-year career, McDade has also beaten sexual harassment allegations from female employees in his office and avoided sanctions for distributing a tape of teenagers having sex; the tape was evidence in a high-profile case.
“He and John Gotti are both Teflon — just on opposite ends of the spectrum,” said Atlanta defense attorney Bruce Harvey, who has been twice jailed for contempt for his antics in a Douglas courtroom.
But McDade’s Teflon veneer is showing new cracks. Late last month, the veteran prosecutor asked for a GBI investigation into his own office after an Atlanta television station reported McDade used drug forfeiture money to finance a fleet of cars for his staff, including his office manager who frequently used her car for non-county business.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has also learned that McDade was involved in a failed Douglas County bank that was taken over by regulators in 2010, and he filed for bankruptcy in 2011 to escape personal debts associated with his investments.
McDade made the request for the GBI investigation as members of the state’s Prosecuting Attorney’s Council — his colleagues from other jurisdictions — called for a special meeting to discuss the report by Fox 5 TV.
“I called the GBI director so I could get a fair examination of the facts,” McDade said Friday. The meeting of the council had nothing to do with the request, he said.
The GBI opened the case on May 22, agency spokeswoman Sherry Lang said.“Our intent is to work the case as expeditiously as possible, but we are going to ensure that we do a thorough and complete investigation.”
McDade, 56, expressed confidence the GBI will find no wrongdoing. He said he reprimanded his office manager and suspended her from using the car because she used it for personal business.
“I have lived through some really tough battles,” McDade said.“In 31 years of public service, I’ve been successful in a lot of things. I’ve accomplished a lot of good.”
Reputation for toughness
First elected to then-rural Douglas in 1990 after eight years as an assistant DA, McDade quickly established a reputation as a tough-on-crime prosecutor.
“Douglas County has been a prosecutor’s jurisdiction,” veteran capital defense attorney Tom West said.“David McDade’s a very, very hard-nosed prosecutor and that was a county where jurors did whatever he asked.”
No Georgia prosecutor has matched McDade’s success in obtaining death-penalty verdicts. Every time he has stood before juries and asked them to impose a death sentence, they’ve done so. In a 2008 TV interview, McDade said Douglas County juries had imposed more than 15 straight death sentences.
Later that same year, the office’s consecutive streak was broken when a jury gave life-without-parole sentences to Jonathan Rucker for a double murder. Yet the verdict did not break McDade’s own streak. Other prosecutors in the office tried Rucker.
“He’s been one of the most successful in getting the death penalty over the years,” Gwinnett District Attorney Danny Porter said.“He’s also been a leading legislative advocate on behalf of DAs and law enforcement in this state since the beginning of Gov. Sonny Perdue’s era. He has as much or more of my respect as anyone else.”
Several defense lawyers declined to comment or spoke off-the-record about McDade and the GBI investigation because they have or could have clients facing prosecution in Douglas County.
#2 Jun 9, 2013
In 2009, McDade was nominated to fill a vacancy on the Georgia Supreme Court. But the governor’s Judicial Nominating Commission did not put him on its short list of recommendations after it reviewed allegations in a sex harassment case filed against him in 1995.
The case was filed by six former female employees of the DA’s Office. Court records portrayed a bawdy atmosphere in which the some of the women plaintiffs dressed up as prostitutes and some gave McDade a sexually charged photo album and an ice sculpture of breasts.
These same women accused of McDade, whom they called “the volcano,” of being an overbearing boss who dropped sexually explicit bombshells to demean and embarrass them.
McDade berated female employees, calling them pejorative, sexually insulting names, tossed coins down their blouses and said the only good thing women are good for is “making babies,” according to testimony. He told one woman to uncross and cross her legs again while he watched and asked another employee to walk down the hall so he could watch her from behind, the women alleged.
McDade prevailed in the litigation before a jury was allowed to hear the case. The federal appeals court dismissed the suit before trial because it said there had been no prior court ruling that said the conduct alleged in McDade’s case was unconstitutional.
Given the facts of the case,“we cannot say that every district attorney would have known … this conduct was truly unwanted and thus unlawful,” judges wrote upholding the opinion.“The Constitution does not prohibit all boorish or rude behavior.”
One of the women who lodged the allegations challenged McDade for public office in 1998. But he won by a landslide as voters backed a prosecutor known for speaking up for crime victims and putting lawbreakers away.
In 2007, McDade garnered national attention in the case of Genarlow Wilson, who had begun serving a 10-year sentence for having oral sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 17. The case, prosecuted by McDade’s office, ultimately prompted Georgia to change the law making a similar act a misdemeanor instead of a felony. Wilson served 32 months before the Georgia Supreme Court ordered his release, calling his sentence “cruel and unusual punishment.”
The case also landed McDade in legal hot water when he admitted distributing a videotape of Wilson receiving oral sex from the girl to state legislators and members of the media. Then U.S. Attorney David Nahmias, now a state Supreme Court justice, called the tape child pornography and in 2007 rebuked McDade for releasing it. McDade said the tape was a public court record.
#3 Jun 9, 2013
A failed bank, then bankruptcy
The year 2007 was also when McDade’s personal finances began to unravel, records reviewed by the AJC show.
In 2002, McDade joined with the sheriff, a former Douglas DA, a bail bondsman and several other local notables to bet heavily on a then-common Georgia phenomenon — creating a small local bank and then selling it a few years later at great profit.
The plan seemed like a winner; groups of prominent citizens in other metro counties were starting banks, many selling them at three to five times the founders’ investment. The prospectus for First Commerce Community Bank said the directors’ financial interest in the bank “will encourage their active participation in growing our business.”
As McDade and other directors were raising money to open the bank, McDade took on $239,000 in debt, using his home as collateral. McDade purchased 22,500 First Commerce shares worth $225,000.
The directors helped raise $11.5 million in the first year to capitalize the bank, according to records. But by late 2006, bank insiders had already taken out $11.5 million in loans to themselves, equal to more than half the bank’s equity at that time, according to bank records.
During his stint as a director, McDade borrowed more than $135,000 in unsecured loans from First Commerce to pay for investment debt, according to his bankruptcy. He also borrowed at least $125,000 from Silverton Bank, using unspecified bank stock as collateral.
Bank directors often can receive unsecured loans from their own bank based on their salary or on the equity in their homes, said Tony Plath, a banking professor at University of North Carolina at Charlotte. McDade, according to his bankruptcy filing, said he earned $13,035 a month and his wife, a Douglas County juvenile program administrator, earned $5,860 a month.
“They shouldn’t do anything with a director that another bank wouldn’t do,” Plath said.“It can’t be preferential or biased.”
In April 2007, Macon-based Security Bank Corporation announced it would buy First Commerce for $56.6 million, five times what the original investors raised.
But trouble loomed. In August 2007, with the sub-prime mortgage crisis starting to unfold, the deal was called off. In the next three years, foreclosures consumed the bank and, in 2010,regulators seiz ed First Commerce. The $71 million used to bailout the bank came from FDIC insurance. Silverton failed the year before and was also taken over by regulators.
McDade was on the hook to two failed institutions, First Commerce and Silverton, but the FDIC apparently did not come after him for repayment of any of the bad debts, according to the bankruptcy case file.
McDade strongly criticized the AJC for disclosing his bankruptcy filing.“To work 30-plus years in public service and lose everything I had has been devastating,” he said.“I’m not asking for sympathy for me. Don’t damage my family.”
He said he invested in First Commerce because he was asked to do so.
“It’s not an uncommon practice,” he said.“It was an investment in the community, just like my career has been. I believe in this community.”
McDade said some of the initial founders had the finances to invest in the bank.“Others had to leverage what they had or borrow, and I fell into that category. I refinanced everything I had. I invested my life’s earnings so I could hopefully take care of my wife and kids in the future.”
McDade said his involvement with First Commerce had no effect on his work as DA.“I haven’t missed a day’s work because of that,” he said.
#4 Jun 9, 2013
Part 4: The Last Part
The lawyers’ code of ethics demands attorneys abide by rules and pay debts, said Lester Tate, a former State Bar of Georgia president who also is on its disciplinary committee.
“That’s probably why he went into bankruptcy, to protect himself,” Tate said.“People are scrutinized when they are put into positions of trust. It may reflect on judgement but there are many banks that failed. This is the kind of thing that will be heavily scrutinized politically or it also would be if he were to apply for a judgeship.”
In 2009, McDade suffered a heart attack and had heart surgery again last year. But he was back at the General Assembly this past session and lawmakers frequently sought out his opinion on any legislation impacting the criminal justice system.
McDade, a Republican, has faced little opposition during his six terms. But the county is changing — its number of black residents has tripled since 2000 to about 40 percent of the population and President Barack Obama carried Douglas last year.
“David McDade is by no stretch of the imagination in a safe Republican seat,” said Tate.“It’d be hard enough for him to hold without the baggage.”
#6 Jun 9, 2013
McDade may be a turd, but he is one hell of a trial lawyer.,,
#7 Jun 9, 2013
I am so glad he is on the side of justice. If he was a defense attorney, there would be many more criminals running loose in Douglas County. The same applies if he was not the D.A. We live in a safer place, partly because of David McDade.It is almost impossible to withstand the moral scrutiny of the media but I believe he is an honest man and I do not believe he has broken any laws.
#8 Jun 9, 2013
I am so glad he is on the side of justice. If he were not the D.A. or if he was a Defense Attorney, Douglasville would have many more criminals running the streets. Douglas County is a safer place in part because of David McDade. No one can stand the moral scrutiny of the media, but I do not believe he has broken any laws.
Since: Mar 12
#9 Jun 10, 2013
I read the print version of this yesterday. Bout time there is something about Douglas County in the AJC!
I am a republican leaning kind of guy, and I am sure he has done a good job through his years of service. That said, interesting he didn't appreciate the AJC bringing his personal bankruptcy to the forefront...especially when, with is in's at the bank, he borrowed $260,000 and didn't have to pay it back (due to bank failure). I would like to see him comment on that. That on top of his salary and he still filed bankruptcy? It seems he made some huge risks with all that money. And to say he invested in the bank because of 'community' but you know all those guys saw dollar sign after dollar sign when signing on for that crap....and apparently a piggy bank where you can get $260,000 and not have to pay it back because the bank failed.
Sure he has done some good work over the years, but I question his financial management and ethics in that area.
Now, off to start a (piggy)bank....
#10 Jun 10, 2013
Very interesting to say the least
#11 Jun 11, 2013
People who take risks and stick his/her neck out are targets--they don't have a choice. I've read all of the comments posted up to today, and agree with all off the posts. This is a really insightful topic. Our family has lived in the County for 25 years, and I know we've got a stronger community because of the D.A.'s tenacity and foresight. Although some of the things he has done are and said morally wrong, they're not illegal; nor are they unethical enough to disbar or sanction. If I were in his spot, I'd retire in a heartbeat (pun intended); to be participate in the community, and enjoy my family.
#12 Jun 11, 2013
I agree that the posts are an accurate reflection of the events and how each person can se the issue. However, When the DA allowed the tape to be freely given out he did disseminate child pornography.
#13 Jun 16, 2013
any news yet on the GBI investagations
#14 Jun 17, 2013
The DA's office seems to be a frat house. I cannot begin to fathom what reason he had for sending that video out to state legislators and others who are not in the legal system. Maybe there needs to be a grand jury look into this. Power seems to have gone to his head, nobody should be above the law.
#15 Jun 20, 2013
If they are going to investigate the DAs office for hiring folks from the same family, they will also have to investigate the school system. If you think mcDades office is "bad", look at all the hiring and promotions of friends, family members, and church member friends in the School system.
#16 Jun 22, 2013
He also has always excepted pay offs and everyone knows it. If he cant even be faithful to his wife what makes you think he can be honest in his job. People please....WAKE UP
#18 Jul 2, 2013
What about his poor wife having to watch all this! Sad.
#19 Jul 3, 2013
What they need to do is investigate Douglasville as well as the county. The whole place is filled with crooked vermin.
#20 Jul 9, 2013
Everyone that works in the county and city knows that Tammy Agan is his mistress, has been for many many years, so of course there is favoritism to the Agan family. McDade is a snake, putting people away for things he himself does. Cross Tammy Agan and you don't have a job. Stand up to McDade and you are outta there with lies told to his staff about you...if someone leaves on bad terms he holds meetings of the legal assistants telling them (his bs version) why. He has touched other female employees inappropriately, makes rude sexual comments to the women in the office but no one can stand up to him bc it's the good ol boy system and he runs the place. His wife Jenny and his kids are who I feel bad for. Who cares if you look tough and throw people in jail, if you break laws yourself. Sad that he is above the law bc he's been a public servant for so many years...more like its been the publics duty to serve him. I hope all this catches up with McDade and he is shown for who he really is. Maybe not on camera but anyone who has worked for him would tell you what a terrible person and how crooked he is. Hopefully Douglas Co will soon have someone of better morals, that abides by the law, in the DA's seat.
#21 Jul 10, 2013
Unfortunately, "About that" has hit the nail square on the head. Courthouse employees have seen his workplace co worker problems going on for a number of years. There's a smoking gun there when McDade has had as many workplace harassment complaints filed against him. That probably explains why he could be so cavalier with releasing the juvenile sex tape to so many people. Of all people, he should know every point of child pornography law.
#22 Jul 30, 2013
I belived Douglas county needs to be investigated to the fullest. I do not understand how there are people sitting in that jail with mistrails and still having to do 7 years in prison. It is ridiculous. These are people lives being put away all for a crooked DA. McDade has all his people working under him, agreeing with him and sentencing for him. That is why he is paying them so much more than average. THIS HAS TO BE STOPPED.
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