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Talitrix Funds Campaigns of Local Sheriffs Creating Apparent Pay-to-Play Opportunities


Conflicts-of-Interest Continue to Plague Georgia House Rep Todd Jones

Yes­ter­day, the Ful­ton Coun­ty Board of Com­mis­sion­ers heard star­tling rev­e­la­tions from fel­low Com­mis­sion­er Bob Ellis. Ellis, the com­mis­sion­er from North Ful­ton, issued his remarks to pro­vide con­text for an ensu­ing dis­cus­sion relat­ing to a much-report­ed con­tract between the Ful­ton Coun­ty Sheriff’s office, head­ed by Sher­iff Patrick Labat, and Tal­itrix, LLC, an Alpharet­ta security/monitoring firm that pro­vides wear­able bio­met­ric wrist bands and tech­nol­o­gy used in track­ing indi­vid­u­als as autho­rized by law. 

Click to view video of the meeting

If you fol­lowed my Sub­stack last win­ter, you know of cer­tain seri­ous con­flicts-of-inter­est charges I alleged regard­ing Geor­gia House Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Todd Jones in view of leg­is­la­tion he has spon­sored over the last two Gen­er­al Assem­bly ses­sions. Those con­flicts are due to the fact that Jones is the founder of Tal­itrix and one of the patent hold­ers of the Tal­itrix tech­nol­o­gy, which is the same tech­nol­o­gy I allege his leg­is­la­tion would require the Geor­gia Depart­ment of Behav­ioral Health and Devel­op­men­tal Dis­abil­i­ties to pur­chase. Last Spring I filed an ethics com­plaint against Jones for spon­sor­ing leg­is­la­tion his firm could, and very like­ly would, prof­it from. 

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Ful­ton Coun­ty Com­mis­sion­er Bob Ellis

Begin­ning his dis­cus­sion, accord­ing to Com­mis­sion­er Ellis, on April 19, 2023 the Ful­ton Coun­ty Com­mis­sion approved an emer­gency fund­ing request brought by Sher­iff Labat in the amount of $5.3 mil­lion dol­lars. That mon­ey was to be spent to install Tal­itrix tech­nol­o­gy, includ­ing mon­i­tor­ing devices in one of the Ful­ton Coun­ty jails, a move which, lat­er in the sheriff’s words, was designed to “save lives.” Of that fig­ure, $2.1 mil­lion would be spent to pur­chase Tal­itrix wear­able devices, the kind referred above. Accord­ing to the con­tract, the work would be com­plet­ed and devices pro­vid­ed to jail inmates by July. By Sep­tem­ber, no wear­ables had been fur­nished and very few are fur­nished and work­ing as of yes­ter­day, accord­ing to Ellis. 

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That is where the sto­ry got inter­est­ing. By way of con­text, Com­mis­sion­er Ellis informed the mem­bers that when the April emer­gency fund­ing request was approved, the sher­iff had not dis­closed that he had pre­vi­ous­ly entered into cer­tain no-bid con­tracts with Tal­itrix, dat­ing back to Sep­tem­ber of 2021. Ellis expressed con­cern that knowl­edge of those con­tracts had not been shared at the time of the emer­gency request. Com­mis­sion­er Ellis then star­tled his fel­low com­mis­sion­ers, reveal­ing that since his last elec­tion, Sher­iff Labat had received a total of $78,100 in cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions from Tal­itrix, its employ­ees, spous­es or relat­ed enti­ties, ques­tion­ing whether the Sheriff’s deci­sions to con­tract with Tal­itrix and the April emer­gency request might have been “cloud­ed by the mag­ni­tude of those contributions.” 

Ful­ton Coun­ty Sher­iff Patrick Labat, whose name rose to fame recent­ly elect­ing to take a mug shot of 45th Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States Don­ald Trump

Com­mis­sion­er Ellis con­tin­ued, shar­ing that late in the evening of Octo­ber 9, he received a text sent by an indi­vid­ual claim­ing to be the CEO of Tal­itrix, “basi­cal­ly sug­gest­ing that I be qui­et in a fair­ly threat­en­ing message.” 

The North Ful­ton com­mis­sion­er then relat­ed a sub­se­quent expe­ri­ence arriv­ing home to find polit­i­cal fliers had been placed by hand into his mail­box, those fliers dis­play­ing var­i­ous deroga­to­ry state­ments about him, also mes­sag­ing that Com­mis­sion­er Ellis had “sold out Ful­ton Coun­ty.” Ellis thought it odd to receive those kinds of fliers, remind­ing the com­mis­sion mem­bers that 2023 is a non-elec­tion year, when nei­ther he nor any­one else is run­ning for local office. The cam­paign-style lit­er­a­ture had been placed by hand in his mail­box, as appar­ent­ly it bore no postage. 

Accord­ing to the North Ful­ton Com­mis­sion­er, at the bot­tom of the fliers was print­ed, “Paid for by Amer­i­cans for Pro­tect­ing the Pub­lic.” Curi­ous to know more about that enti­ty, Ellis went online to the Geor­gia Ethics web­site, dis­cov­er­ing Amer­i­cans for Pro­tect­ing the Pub­lic is a PAC orig­i­nal­ly formed on March 31, 2023 by an indi­vid­ual of the name of Justin Hawkins, who, inci­den­tal­ly, is the CEO of the Tal­itrix, LLC, and would be the same indi­vid­ual who alleged­ly sent the threat­en­ing mes­sage in the recent late-night text, if, of course, the text was authentic. 

Ellis expressed inter­est in the tim­ing of the text and the deliv­ery of the mail­box fliers, which hap­pened to coin­cide with the pub­li­cized upcom­ing dis­cus­sions sched­uled for yesterday’s commissioner’s meet­ing, hav­ing to do with Sher­iff Labat’s emer­gency request for mon­ey going to Tal­itrix, and the company’s seem­ing fail­ure to live up to its obligations. 

The com­mis­sion­er con­clud­ed his con­tex­tu­al remarks ref­er­enc­ing a $232,000 con­tri­bu­tion to the Amer­i­cans for Pro­tect­ing the Pub­lic PAC, giv­en it from an orga­ni­za­tion by the name of “Tail­trix,” either mis­spelled but mean­ing Tal­itrix, or per­haps an enti­ty of a sim­i­lar name. 

Com­mis­sion­er Ellis’ remarks led me to fol­low that same path of inves­ti­ga­tion to learn more about Amer­i­cans for Pro­tect­ing the Pub­lic, “Tail­trix” and to dis­cov­er what a $232,000 PAC con­tri­bu­tion might have been used for. I dis­cov­ered that, of the $232,000 con­tributed by “Tail­trix,” at least $188,125.52 had been con­tributed either to the pri­ma­ry, or the runoff cam­paign of Clay­ton Coun­ty Sher­iff Lev­on Allen, who won re-elec­tion last April by a scant 266 votes. Doing the math, it appears to have cost “Tail­trix” about $707/vote to help the embat­tled sher­iff to win his runoff. 

I also dis­cov­ered that the present Chair­man of Amer­i­cans for Pro­tect­ing the Pub­lic is one, William M. (Marc) Mor­ris, for­mer Geor­gia House Rep from Forsyth County’s 26th Dis­trict, and appar­ent present “Chief Peo­ple Offi­cer” at Talitrix. 


Thus, yes­ter­day, in the few short min­utes while Com­mis­sion­er Ellis spoke, we learned that Tal­itrix, LLC spent over $78k sup­port­ing Ful­ton Coun­ty can­di­date for sher­iff, Patrick Labat, with whom the com­pa­ny would sub­se­quent­ly con­tract for over $5 mil­lion in busi­ness hav­ing elicit­ed emer­gency fund­ing from the coun­ty com­mis­sion in April. We also dis­cov­ered the same com­pa­ny, Tal­itrix (Tail­trix), found­ed by Geor­gia House Rep Todd Jones, fund­ed the cam­paign of Clay­ton Coun­ty Sher­iff, Lev­on Allen, through the Amer­i­cans for Pro­tect­ing the Pub­lic PAC, to the tune of over $188K. Doing that math, and assum­ing the same return on invest­ment, appar­ent­ly we could expect a lit­tle over $12 mil­lion in Tal­itrix con­tracts from Clay­ton Coun­ty, should the same “emer­gen­cies” arise. 

At the end of the meet­ing, obvi­ous­ly “fed up” with all he heard, com­mis­sion chair, Rob Pitts, motioned the Tal­itrix con­tract be rescind­ed. The motion passed 4–1 with one vot­ing present. 

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