Woodstock resident Tim Adderholdt filed complaints against Cherokee Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Petruzielo and school district spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby, alleging the two violated state law by sending emails mentioning one of the candidates during the special election in January.
Adderholdt’s complaints against Petruzielo and Jacoby were received by the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, formerly known as the State Ethics Commission, on March 26.
Adderholdt claimed in his complaints Jacoby sent emails mentioning one of the candidates, which he considered to be contributions to the candidate’s campaign.
“It’s against the law for a government entity, or anyone acting on behalf of a government entity, to contribute anything of value to a campaign,” Adderholdt said Tuesday. “I would argue the emails were extremely valuable. It’s like product placement in the movies.”
Jacoby and Petruzielo were unable to be reached for comment Tuesday, and the school district offices are closed this week because of spring break.
Adderholdt said he filed the complaints because he was “morally required to do something about it.”
“I decided to file the complaints because it’s a taxpayer’s duty to complain when taxpayer funded resources are used illegally,” he said. “I’m merely a Cherokee County taxpayer that does not approve of my tax dollars being used to advocate for any candidate, for any reason.”
Holly LaBerge, executive director of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, confirmed Monday both Jacoby and Petruzielo had been sent notices of the complaints.
LaBerge said notification of the complaints were sent through certified mail in accordance with the Campaign Finance Act.
Adderholdt said he saw the emails posted online on politicalvine.com, a web-based newsletter known for satire, and other sources online.
In his complaints, Adderholdt claims that Jacoby sent emails on Jan. 7, 8 and 15 and mentioned one of the candidates running in the special election to fill the District 22 House of Representatives seat, now held by Rep. Sam Moore (R- Canton).
Copies of the complaints that were obtained by the Tribune from the state ethic commission show emails Adderholdt said were those sent by Jacoby and were filed as part of his complaint.
“Special election day is today,” the Jan. 7 email read. “Voters who live in State House District 22 today have the opportunity to vote in a special election.”
The email reportedly went on to explain how voters could find out which district they lived in and when the polls were open that day.
The special election was Jan. 7, with a runoff election between Moore and Meagan Biello held Feb. 4. Adderholdt claims the emails violated state law because they could be considered a contribution to the Biello campaign.
One of the emails Adderholdt said he considered to be a campaign contribution mentioned Biello.
“There are four candidates, one of whom is a CCSD employee: Creekview High School teacher Meagan Biello,” the email in the complaint read. “Information about all of the candidates is online: http://www.fultongop.org/default.aspx.”