Tuesday night’s general election candidate forum at the Fayette County Library was for the most part a civil affair, with candidates in all but one race more or less agreeing with each other even on some controversial topics.
And then the tax commissioner candidates took the stage.
Fifteen-year tax office veteran Kristie King and small business owner Rasheed Dawodu, who claims “over 26 years of leadership experience in financial management and customer service”, faced off as the final feature Tuesday night. During the exchange, Dawodu claimed that King was only promoted to deputy tax commissioner last year, and King claimed Dawodu never worked for the Dekalb County Tax Commissioner’s Office, which he lists on his campaign material and mentioned during the forum.
In fact, King became deputy tax commissioner around four years ago and has since been promoted to chief deputy tax commissioner.
However, King’s assertion about Dawodu is mostly correct. According to Dekalb County Assistant Tax Commissioner Andrew G. Booth, who began working in that office in 1987, neither he nor any of his colleagues recalls working with Dawodu, and he further said there are no official records to indicate Dawodu ever worked there.
Furthermore, Booth said there is no “Property Tax Registration” role within the DeKalb County Tax Commissioner’s Office. That is the job title Dawodu claims in his promotional literature.
Current Fayette County Tax Commissioner George Wingo inquired about Dawodu when he learned of his claim to have worked at the DeKalb County office.
“Pursuant to Mr. Wingo’s request for confirmation of employment of Mr. Rasheed Dawodu with the DeKalb County Tax Commissioner and after record and memory investigation, I cannot confirm his employment either now nor in the past,” Booth replied in a letter dated Aug. 8.
Responding to King’s statement at the forum, Dawodu refuted her claim. “I’ve got my letter. I’ll show you I worked in DeKalb County,” he replied, claiming that he worked for “Dan Scott”.
After the forum, Dawodu was asked to clarify that he worked for the DeKalb County Tax Commissioner’s Office, and he again said he did, this time saying he worked full-time for “Dan Davis” in that office in the early 1990s while he was in graduate school.
There is no record of a Dan Scott nor a Dan Davis serving as tax commissioner in DeKalb County. There was a Tom Scott, who was elected in 1992 and was the longest-serving tax commissioner in DeKalb County history according to his obituary in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper. He died in Oct. 2006.
On Wednesday, Dawodu supplied this newspaper with evidence that somewhat supports his employment claim. It is a recommendation letter dated Aug. 17, 1990, and it is signed by DeKalb County Tax Administrator Dan L. Davis, who had employed Dawodu as a “temporary mail processing clerk” “during the 1989 tag season”. The letter says nothing about full-time employment, nor does it mention Dawodu working in “property tax registration” as his campaign literature states.
Below is a transcript of the recommendation letter Dawodu e-mailed to this newspaper.
August 17, 1990
To Whom It May Concern
Re: Rasheed M. Dawodu
Dir Sir or Madam:
Please accept this letter as a recommendation to employ Rasheed Dawodu. I had the pleasure of having Rasheed work in our commercial registration office during the 1989 tag season. While I hired Rasheed as a temporary mail processing clerk, I quickly became impressed with his professionalism, ethics, performance, and ability to participate as a team member.
He was a very capable employee and did an excellent job in our out-mail processing section. He was quick to lern, self-motivating and an asset to our operations.
I recommend Rasheed because I believe he will make a positive difference to any organization to which he is connected.
Dan L. Davis