Spotlight on Brookhaven: Meet John Ernst, the Mayor of Brookhaven and Owner of Ernst Legal Group
John Ernst, Mayor & Business Owner - petminders.com - 404-315-1155
What made you want to be Mayor?
Growing up in this area and basically living here my whole life (I did go to Emory for undergrad and UGA for law school) has given me a sense of pride for the community. Brookhaven is a brand new city and is the fastest growing zip code in the area, which provides tremendous opportunities. When neighbors asked me to run, I knew that I held a unique perspective, to help shape our vision of Brookhaven as a haven of greenspaces nestled inside our urban landscape, a city of thought leaders, and a community with character.
What is the question you get asked the most?
The question I get asked the most is “when is this going to be done?”. What surprises them – and me at first – is how long the government process is. Government projects are like building a house. You first have to look for the land and then buy the land. Then you would have to get bids and buy the material while making sure all the items are up to code. Then you have to actually build the home, again checking to make sure that everything is safe and working properly. All of this has to be done prior to enjoying your new home, and same goes for enjoying government initiatives. There are no short cuts when it involves public resources and safety.
What are your overall goals as a community leader?
My overall goals as a community leader are to bring efficient service delivery to our residents, improve City communications and outreach, acquire more greenspace, and bring the Beltline project to Brookhaven.
What is something that most people don’t know about you?
Most people do not know that I have dyslexia, which I had to overcome when I was younger. I do think that this disability has been an asset for me - as a politician and as a lawyer - as it makes me a better problem-solver. Also, I’m a huge Hawks fan and have been a season ticketholder for over nine years.
What do you love about Brookhaven?
That’s easy! The energy that Brookhaven has right now, it reminds me of the energy that Atlanta had in preparation for the Olympics. We have so much drive to do things and become a better city that it makes working here fun and exciting.
What are your favorite things to do in Brookhaven?
I love taking our kids to all the parks here – from playing little league at Murphey Chandler, to romping in the Georgian Hills pocket park and enjoying the food trucks at Blackburn Park. It’s been fun watching them grow up in the same neighborhood that I grew up in.
We also love the Brookhaven Farmers Market – it’s a fun weekend activity- and allows us to support the local farms and shops in and around our City.
Being Mayor is a part-time job. Tell us about your other business.
I am a lawyer full time at my own law firm, Ernst Legal Group, which specializes in real estate closings, personal injury and bankruptcy.
Where do you get your business from?
Even though I represent buyers in real estate closing, a majority of our real estate closings come from real estate agents and mortgage brokers. My firm uses the business-to- business model, so it is not something I advertise out to the world. However, home buyers can stipulate which closing attorney they would like to use; you don’t have to use the attorney recommended by the agent. Just tell them you want to hire John Ernst!
What makes you unique?
We are unique in that we offer benefits that are helpful to both our buyers and to agents/brokers. For our buyers, we offer Saturday closing dates as well as the opportunity to close at a location of their choice. For our agents/brokers, we offer a secure, online client portal with real-time updates, and free short sale processing. Our experienced attorneys and staff are committed to providing exemplary service with an accurate, smooth and efficient closing process, which benefits everyone.
Also, I donate 10% of my personal injury case fee to a charity of my client’s choosing as a way to always be giving back to our community.
Interview conducted by local REALTOR® Kelly Marsh.