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Wville residents sue, saying city denied recall rights
City says recall request was never formally made
Walthourville seal

Two Walthourville residents have filed suit against that city, its Mayor Daisy Pray and City Clerk Melissa Jones.

The mandamus petition — asking the court to force an action — was filed May 23 and alleges the defendants failed to provide plaintiffs Anita Scurry and Paulette Jamison an application for a recall petition.

An attorney for the city, however, said they never requested the application properly, even though Jones told them how to apply.

“When you do a recall, you have to give notice to the elected official that someone has requested a recall application,” Assistant City Attorney Drew Johnson said. “The recall applications have to be sequentially numbered and they are a controlled document because of the timeline involved. No one showed up to the city of Walthourville and asked for a recall application for Mayor Pray and Councilwoman Green.”

According to the petition, the plaintiffs are trying to recall Pray and Councilwoman Patricia Green, for “unethical conduct, misconduct in office and misappropriated public property and funds.”

Neither Pray nor Green responded to an email last week, asking about the allegations.

The petition said Pray tried to have Larry Baker, who ran against Pray in 2016, implicated in a crime by asking former Police Chief Bernie Quarterman to plant drugs in his car and then be stopped by city police. It also claims Pray threatened to shoot the former police chief and put a hit out on any citizen who questioned the city’s finances.

According to the petition, Pray initiated an investigation into former Councilman James Henry in 2014 in order to bring shame to the family. Henry is Baker’s father.

The petition alleges that Pray was aware of, yet ignored an illegal vehicle painting business in the city. It claims Pray shut the business down after her husband had work done and Pray felt they were overcharged.

The petition states that Green used city employees and equipment for personal use on several occasions while the employees were being paid by the city. It alleges Green had the employees set up her mobile home, do plumbing work for a friend and had city property delivered and later picked up at her home for a December 2017 party.

The petition says the plaintiffs were denied their rights for recall and that the defendants violated their duties.

Johnson said exhibits attached to the plaintiffs’ petition indicate the requests were made via email, not in person.

“They spent a lot of time sending emails to (county election supervisor) Ella Golden and everyone else,” he said. “They asked for information.

“There is actually an email attached to the petition from Melissa Jones, the city clerk, basically telling them what they need to do. But they never did anything.”

Johnson said the email exchanges requesting the applications for recall petition also failed to name the elected officials, a requirement of the law.

The only documents that mention Green and Pray are the exhibits attached to the petition, which allege unethical behavior, not recall application requests.

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