The old saying, “desperate times call for desperate measures” seems to be the guiding philosophy for some candidates running for elective office. Unfortunately, desperation all too often leads to statements that are more fiction than fact. Based on our research, that appears to be the case with Gwinnett Superior Court candidate B.T. Parker.
Parker has posted an abundance of photos on social media of herself positioned next to people who are well-known within the county. That wouldn’t be an issue except that in some of instances, she has claimed that the people in these photos have endorsed her candidacy when they have not.
Melvin Everson is one person who has taken exception to a photo with a caption indicating he has endorsed Parker. Everson commented on the social media photo saying, “I take photos with many people! I have not, I repeat I have not endorsed anyone in this race!” Everson found that his comment was subsequently removed.
Parker has another issue we find troubling- something we believe should be investigated by the Georgia Government Transparency & Campaign Finance Commission (formerly known as the Ethics Commission). Last year, Parker advertised, “BT Parker’s Golf and Tennis Challenge”, with the tag line, “Benefitting the Gwinnett Boys & Girls Club”. The “Challenge” took place on October 30, 2021, but it’s difficult to see how it benefited the Boys & Girls Club. According to Parker’s Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report, $8,575 raised from contributions and sponsorship of the golf/tennis challenge and the accompanying masquerade ball went into her campaign fund.
On the expenditure side, a total of $175.73 is listed as the cost of, “Trophies for Golf and Tennis Fundraising events Support B. Thassanee Gutter-Parker”. Another $5694.55 is listed as expenses for a variety of fundraising events, to “Support B Thassanee Gutter-Parker”. All expenditure entries are accompanied by, “Fundraising Events Support B Thassanee Gutter-Parker” in the Description column. Nowhere is there any indication that any money was donated to the Gwinnett Boys & Girls Club.
To make matters even more questionable, the campaign contribution report cited above was filed for “January 31st Election Year”. However, in the column identifying the election for which each contribution or expense was made is “May 21, 2024” which would be the election for the Judicial Circuit of Judge Fluker. The report filed by Parker for the next reporting period, “April 30th Election Year is for the Judicial Circuit of Judge Duncan. That election takes place this month.
The two reports contain different filer identification numbers and are not connected to each other in any way. Essentially, the campaign for which the January 31st report was filed has been closed, with a zero balance and with none of the supposed donations to the Boys & Girls Club having been documented. Also of interest is that the zero balance was created through a loan repayment of $19,477.24 with no previous indication of a loan having been made, in either this or previous campaign reports. (This report can be found on the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission’s web site at- https://efile.ethics.ga.gov/ReportsOutput/103/75bddffd-3c86-44cc-9f7c-b42f483250fe.pdf )
While some people may subscribe to the philosophy that “all’s fair in love, war and politics”, we don’t. Especially when the actions of a candidate for a superior court judge position cause us to see a red flag as a result of actions that seem unethical at best and possibly illegal at worst.
As we all know, social media is often a hotbed of misinformation so when heard claims of campaign malfeasance we investigated. The report above is a result of that investigation. Some may consider our conclusions to be a matter of opinion, so we encourage voters the review available documentation and reach their own conclusions.