Attachment to complaint of September 19, 2016
It has come to my attention that the City of Atlanta has been issuing/renewing business licenses to a substantial, but unknown, number of entities without collecting the SAVE affidavits required by OCGA 50-36-1 since 2012. Earlier this month the City of Atlanta replied to my open records request (well beyond the lawful three-day time period) in which I asked, in part, for copies of these affidavits from the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO), which has its business office in Atlanta. I am assuming that GALEO has renewed their business license.
The City of Atlanta was unable to produce these copies for the years 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. Please note: I am not sure if the renewal period is over yet for 2016.
In a follow-up request, I am also seeking the same records from the year 2012.
In a response (marked “A”) to my August complaint to the IERB, the City of Atlanta has made it clear that they have knowingly and intentionally made a practice of non-compliance with OCGA 50-36-1 for non-profit corporations since this law went into effect in 2012. GALEO is a non-profit corporation.
The reasoning from the City of Atlanta seems to be that since it is waiving the business license fee for a particular applicant, that it is somehow excused from collecting the SAVE affidavit which is designed to help safeguard public benefits from being administered to illegal aliens and others who are not eligible.
There is no exception for non-profit applicants for public benefits in the language of OCGA 50-36-1.
The City of Atlanta appears to have invented and implemented its own version of state law while acting in clear violation of actual state law over which the IERB has clear enforcement and sanction power.
The City of Atlanta has already provided documents ( marked “B”) that show it is issuing/renewing business licenses for a non-profit applicant (Atlanta History Center) each year – see attached.
These facts indicate that there are a large number of applications for business licenses that have been illegally processed by the City of Atlanta since 2012. It is my intent to quantify that process and learn exactly how many violations have occurred.
I am of the respectful opinion that the IERB can accomplish this task much easier and with much less drain on time and resources than my own efforts by using its authority to gain access to the number of the City of Atlanta’s business licenses that have been renewed for the non-profit entities without collection of a SAVE affidavit as required by law.
Example: If I understand them, the records I have obtained from the Department of Audits and Accounts show that the City of Atlanta issued or renewed around 18,000 business licenses in the year 2015.
These records do not include the Atlanta History Center or GALEO – which are both non-profits.
I respectfully submit that using the information supplied by the City of Atlanta on its policy, the IERB can easily subpoena records from the City of Atlanta that show the number of non-profit applicants for business license renewal that were business license holders before OCGA 50-36-1 became law (not included in that list) for each year since 2012 to learn the scope of the violations.
I respectfully urge the IERB to use its authority to call a hearing on this matter and to impose the sanctions that will prevent or stop other public agencies from fearless violation of law that was carefully vetted by the General Assembly and signed into law by the governor in an effort to safeguard public benefits in Georgia.
According to OCGA 50-36-1 (f) “…an agency or political subdivision providing or administering a public benefit shall require every applicant for such benefit to:
(A) Provide at least one secure and verifiable document, as defined in Code Section 50-36-2, or a copy or facsimile of such document. Any document required by this subparagraph may be submitted by or on behalf of the applicant at any time within nine months prior to the date of application so long as the document remains valid through the licensing or approval period or such other period for which the applicant is applying to receive a public benefit; and
(B) Execute a signed and sworn affidavit verifying the applicant’s lawful presence in the United States under federal immigration law; provided, however, that if the applicant is younger than 18 years of age at the time of the application, he or she shall execute the affidavit required by this subparagraph within 30 days after his or her eighteenth birthday. Such affidavit shall affirm that:
(i) The applicant is a United States citizen or legal permanent resident 18 years of age or older; or
(ii) The applicant is a qualified alien or nonimmigrant under the federal Immigration and Nationality Act, Title 8 U.S.C., 18 years of age or older lawfully present in the United States and provide the applicant’s alien number issued by the Department of Homeland Security or other federal immigration agency.
“…the intentional and knowing failure of any agency head to abide by the provisions of this chapter shall:
(1) Be a violation of the code of ethics for government service established in Code Section 45-10-1 and subject such agency head to the penalties provided for in Code Section 45-10-28, including removal from office and a fine not to exceed $10,000.00; and
(2) Be a high and aggravated misdemeanor offense where such agency head acts to willfully violate the provisions of this Code section or acts so as to intentionally and deliberately interfere with the implementation of the requirements of this Code section.
Please contact me with any questions. I look forward to your reply.
I am attaching all the documents from the City of Atlanta referred to above.