H. Lamar Willis, the embattled city councilman who was disbarred on Monday, admitted to a “grievous professional error” that led to him getting disbarred.
However, he said troubles are behind him.
“Two years ago during a time when I was facing tremendous personal challenges I made a grievous professional error. I acknowledge that error. I apologize for it… and today I accept the repercussions,” he said on Monday.
He said the $30,000 that was wrongly deposited into his personal account was due to the depression he suffered during his divorce. All parties were made whole, according to WABE’s report and he is no longer the same person he was then.
Ralph Long, running against Willis, took a swipe at the councilman and Mayor Reed indirectly in a statement, saying Willis needed to resign.
“Lamar Willis has shown time and time again that his only motivation for holding a City Council seat is to advance his personal and financial interests,” Long wrote. “Rather than addressing the local issues facing the people who have put him in office, Willis has shown himself singularly focused on his own wallet, regardless of the law or professional and ethical obligations. I have no reason to believe that Lamar Willis has the moral compass or the ethical foundation needed for a steward of the funds paid by Atlanta taxpayers.”
The full statement is below.
Earlier this year, when the former Chairman of the Democratic Party of Georgia was voluntarily suspended from the State Bar, Mayor Kasim Reed said that the party Chairman should “move on” from office because Reed was concerned with “insuring that the Chair is focused on the campaign and not personal distractions.” Well, if Mike Berlon’s SUSPENSION from the Bar is a distraction from his former job, then it’s not a stretch of logic to conclude that City Councilman Lamar Willis’s DISBARMENT will interfere with his work for the people of Atlanta. It is past time for Lamar Willis to leave office. I write you today to call on Mayor Reed to hold Lamar Willis to the same standard he held Mike Berlon – Lamar Willis should MOVE ON from the Atlanta City Council and RESIGN from office immediately. Our world-class city deserves better, and can do better, than a disbarred and dishonorable City Councilman.
The people of Atlanta have been subject to Lamar Willis’ ethical lapses and dishonest dealings for years. From fraudulently collecting charitable contributions supposedly intended for our City’s children, to serving as a lobbyist for a private corporation before the same City Council on which he sits (that company now faces an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission), to diverting legal judgment funds from a minor he represented to his own personal bank accounts, Lamar Willis has shown time and time again that his only motivation for holding a City Council seat is to advance his personal and financial interests. Rather than addressing the local issues facing the people who have put him in office, Willis has shown himself singularly focused on his own wallet, regardless of the law or professional and ethical obligations. I have no reason to believe that Lamar Willis has the moral compass or the ethical foundation needed for a steward of the funds paid by Atlanta taxpayers.
Just as the Supreme Court of Georgia ruled that Lamar Willis’ ethical breaches make him unfit to practice law, the people of Atlanta feel strongly that his ethical breaches make him unfit to serve us. For the good of our City, and in order to restore the confidence of Atlanta taxpayers, Lamar Willis should immediately step down from office. The people of Atlanta deserve better representation than a corrupt, disbarred City Councilmember.