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Lasseter Showed Signs of Financial Distress

The former Gwinnett District 1 commissioner apparently was struggling fiscally late in her term. The situation is uncertain on a replacement for the rest of her term.

Lasseter Showed Signs of Financial Distress

Updated 10:48 a.m., June 1

Shirley Lasseter, who resigned Thursday as Gwinnett County Commissioner after pleading guilty to federal bribery charges, apparently was under financial distress in recent years.

According to Georgia property deed records, Lasseter's Duluth home on Howell Ferry Road was foreclosed on in December 2009. This also was the year Lasseter's husband died. The home was purchased in 1979. 

Property records also show no current Gwinnett home ownership by Lasseter, 64.

Also, a recent media report quoted a friend of Lasseter's in Duluth as saying that she was having financial woes.

A Lasseter friend, Jerry Robb, said she called him a month ago after her car ran out of gas. The vehicle's gas gauge was not working and she was unable to afford the repairs, Robb said in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"She was having a hard time," Robb said. "But not many people knew that."

Federal authorities said Lasseter, who took office as District 1 commissioner in 2008, accepted $36,500 in bribes in 2011 from an undercover agent posing as a South Florida real estate developer in September. The alleged bribe involved a proposed development on Boggs Road.

During this time, Lasseter's son, John Fanning, was an appointed member of the Gwinnett Zoning Board of Appeals -- appointed by his mother. The appointment came when the Gwinnett commission had no chairman -- Charles Bannister resigned in October 2010, and Charlotte Nash took office in March 2011.

Fanning, who federal authorities said lives in Dacula, also pleaded guilty Thursday to a bribery charge, and to drug trafficking.

Lasseter and Fanning reportedly told the undercover agent that Lasseter’s favorable vote on the proposed development was for sale and that Fanning could help obtain necessary approvals and variances for the development through his position on the county’s zoning appeals board.

John Fanning's one-year term on the county zoning board ended in February 2012.

The listed phone for Fanning's landscaping business was not operating Thursday.

The Gwinnett Board of Commissioners is scheduled to have a regular business meeting next Tuesday, June 5. District 1 also includes Suwanee.

Nash said Friday that Gwinnett County's legal department is reviewing the state laws that apply to determine if the county would need to appoint someone to fill Lasseter's unexpired term. "Our law department is reviewing it," Nash said. "We expect the results of their analysis today."

Lasseter had announced that she would not seek re-election. Two Republicans from Suwanee, accountant Laurie McClain and former Suwanee City Council member Jace Brooks, will face each other in the July 31 primary election. That becomes the de facto election, as no Democrat has announced plans to run.

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Duluth Patch and Peachtree Corners Patch contributed to this report.

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