Atlanta's Planning Department Opts for Cover-Up

Click here for the full report: City of Atlanta Planning Department Opts for Cover-up

The Tree Next Door has now received additional information that leads us to believe that instead of investigating the fraud, the Department of Planning is attempting to cover it up. Records missing from the database record upon our last examination have now been entered in “after the fact”, with one employee going so far as to note - in writing - that he closed out some of Domengeaux’ records “for [the] Open Records request” and “at the request of the Commissioner”.

In June 20, 2010 City Field Arborist Stan Domengeaux issued a permit to remove an oak tree at 40 Montgomery Street because it “bowed over house on right of property,” according to Domengeaux' own inspection notes.

But there's just one problem.  There is no house on “right of property", and hasn't been for at least a couple of years.  40 Montgomery Street is a vacant lot situated between two other vacant lots.

This and other glaring instances of fraudulent inspection reports filed by Stan Domengeaux have been cited on this website since September 20.  Furthermore, Domengeaux has a documented history of falsifying inspection records in both his field book and database records (see City Arborist -- Falsification of Documents, Ethics Office Investigative Report, Case Number CO-06-024).

On October 6, both Planning Commissioner James Shelby and City COO Peter Aman promised to investigate our claims of fraud.  But with the latest information received via an Open Records request with the City, we question just how seriously they are investigating anything.

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