The plaintiffs who filed a mandamus petition against Walthourville Mayor Daisy Pray and Councilwoman Patricia Green filed a new motion July 20, to set aside the dismissal and re-open the case.
Plaintiffs Paulette Jamison and Anita Scurry had originally filed the mandamus petition in May after claiming they were given “the runaround” from the mayor and city clerk Melissa Jones in obtaining recall petitions.
The plaintiffs are attempting to recall Pray and Councilwoman Green, for alleged “unethical conduct, misconduct in office and misappropriated public property and funds.”
The city, through its attorneys, said the plaintiffs had not requested the documents in the proper manner. They said the plaintiffs’ complaint, “is in bad faith, stubbornly litigious and causes unnecessary trouble and expense.”
Pray and Green unequivocally deny the allegations against them
Jamison and Scurry went to court June 25 and allowed the court to dismiss the petition because they had received the required documents they needed to file for a recall.
Jamison said they gathered the required signatures within a week and filed the recall petitions with Jones.
Since then, Jamison said she and many of the people who signed the recall petition are being harassed and retaliated against by Pray and Green.
“Reports of witness tampering, harassment, and intimidation has been reported to the Walthourville Police Department, Liberty County Sheriff’s Office and the Liberty County District Attorney,” Jamison said. “Several citizens have reported that Mayor Daisy Pray and Council woman Patricia Green have been going around to residences of citizens who signed a recall petition to have them removed from their political positions. They were questioning the citizens why they signed and who brought the petition to them. Citizens even complained that Pray and Green were argumentative with them.”
Jamison said Pray was trying to influence the recall petition signers to change their minds. She said a few people felt so intimidated they signed paperwork rescinding their signatures on the recall.
Atlantic Judicial Circuit District Attorney Tom Durden confirmed that he was notified on the matter.
“At this point I don’t see this going forward as a criminal investigation nor grand jury,” he said.
“It appears that Ms. Jamison and Ms. Scurry are attempting to open the previously court dismissed action, although no legal basis has been given for doing so,” Pray said in a statement to the Courier. “Within the new documents, Ms. Jamison and Ms. Scurry admit that the city has complied with all legal requests, and that the prior action was properly dismissed by the court.”
Pray denies that she has attempted to influence, intimidate, directly or indirectly, the two plaintiffs.
“While I disagree with their spurious and false allegations, as an elected official, I continue to recognize and respect the election process as outlined by the Georgia Legislature,” Pray said. “This is true also for the individuals who signed the applications. Ms. Jamison and Ms. Scurry have provided no affidavits or sworn statements in support of their allegations contained in the most recent court filings.”
Jamison provided a video to the Courier that showed Pray and Green at someone’s door. The man didn’t answer the door, instead using his video system to record the exchange with Green.
Green can be heard asking about the petition and Jamison.
But the right to follow up on the recall petition is within the law, according to the city attorney.
Pray admits she has spoken with some of the individuals who signed the applications but denies that she is retaliating or intimidating people.
“As someone who has been personally, albeit falsely, attacked in the newspapers, online, and in the community, I feel it is my duty to address any concerns that citizens of the City of Walthourville may have,” Pray said. “At no time have I ever coerced, threatened, harassed or intimidated any of these individuals.”
Pray said that as a result of their follow up investigation, conversations came to light that might show that the process has been abused by the plaintiffs and that Georgia Election Law may have been violated or broken on numerous occasions.
“I promptly reported my concerns to the Elections Supervisor, who is according to her independent duty conducting her own investigation,” Pray said. “Quite frankly, these irregularities may be such that they may be referred to the District Attorney’s Office for further investigation and possible felonious prosecution.”
Pray said she has spent the last 11 years working tirelessly for the betterment of the city.
“We have made great progress and success,” she said. “It bothers me that those who are unhappy with the success of the city have taken a path that would rather attempt to pull me down than run against me in an open and honest election.”
The mayor added that every case that has been adjudicated in a court of law thus far has vindicated the direction and actions she has taken on behalf of the city and citizen.
“I do not expect nor anticipate any change as I remain proud and privileged to serve the citizens of Walthourville and continue the growth and progress of our city,” she said.