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City Council declines to appeal election contest legal fees

Tuesday, June 16, 2015, 8:33 pm News Flash Archive

The Greenwood City Council this afternoon declined to pass a resolution authorizing the city to appeal the Leflore County Circuit Court's May 26th ruling barring the city from paying legal fees to lawyers fighting against the election contest between Sheriel Perkins and Mayor Carolyn McAdams.

Mayor McAdams, along with Council members Johnny Jennings, Lisa Cookston, and Ronnie Stevenson, did not attend the meeting.

The city council had voted to hire attorneys to represent the city in the election contest. Those attorneys then took the side of Carolyn McAdams in trying to defeat the lawsuit. Indeed, the city hired the same attorneys as had already been representing McAdams.

But after Perkins filed suit in Circuit Court to stop the city from paying legal fees against her, Judge Carey-McCray ruled that the city cannot spend taxpayer money to defend a private election contest lawsuit between two candidates.

The Court held that for the city to do so "would unquestionably be the expenditure of public funds for a private purpose.... In this case, what the City of Greenwood has resolved to do is financially assist Mayor McAdams in marshalling evidence and retaining legal services to defend against Ms. Perkins' claim...."

The Court therefore barred the City of Greenwood from paying attorneys' fees and costs in the election contest.

Today, the council had the following item on its agenda:

"A resolution of the City Council of the City of Greenwood to approve/not approve appealing order and opinion filed May 26, 2015, in Sheriel F. Perkins vs. Mayor and City Council of Greenwood, ET AL, Leflore County Court Cause No. 2014-0074(CM)(l)."

The resolution was tabled on motion by Ward Six member David Jordan, who stated "I move that we table this because actually we have nothing to do with it." His motion was quickly seconded by Councilman McCoy and adopted unanimously with no discussion.

The Council has until June 25th to reconsider and vote to file an appeal, but a special meeting would have to be called in order to do so, as the Council is not scheduled to meet again until July 7th.

John Pittman Hey
The Taxpayers Channel

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