As reported several weeks ago, members of the Graham City Council voted to remove Mayor Lonnie Crosby from office during a recent meeting. Crosby then filed an injunction in Appling Superior Court against the council and the following is a copy of the judgement by Superior Court Judge Stephen G. Scarlett that was submitted to the newspaper:
This case came before the Court on Appellant’s motion for a temporary Restraining order. On February 27, 2012, Appellant was removed from his position as Mayor of the City of Graham under the provisions of the City’s Charter. He seeks to compel Appellants to refrain from interfering with his activities as mayor and to compel them to allow him to function as Mayor pending the outcome of this case.
While the notice of appeal to this Court act as a supersedeas and Appellant is entitled to be compensated as Mayor pending its outcome, the Court is authorized to consider the evidence presented and determine if the scope of the supersedeas should be narrowed to prohibit Appellant from conducting the business of the City while the appeal is pending. The testimony of Appellant was remarkable, and suggested that he is suffering from a serious mental impairment of some kind. He could not remember whether he ever used City credit cards or city funds for his personal use. He could not remember why he had not checked to see that water bills were sent out, or why he had not prepared a budget for the years, or how funds which could only be lawfully used for a water project were expended to satisfy the City’s obligation with respect to fees due the State on traffic citations which had not be paid from the fines collected on those citations.
Based on the evidence presented to the Court, the Court concludes that while Appellant is entitled to be compensated as Mayor during the pendency of this appeal, irreparable harm would result from allowing him to have access to City records and City funds due to his apparently impaired mental condition, which was graphically demonstrated by his testimony. A compelling case has been made out by Appellees that allowing him to exercise any Mayor functions would place the City at great risk of harm. Therefore, Appellant’s application for a temporary restraining order to prohibit Appellees from barring him from access to the Mayor’s office, City records, and City funds during the pendency of this appeal is DENIED. However, Appellees are directed to forthwith tender to Appellant any unpaid compensation to which he is entitled, and to pay future compensation to him when it becomes due.
SO ORDERED, THIS 29TH DAY OF MARCH, 2012.
STEPHEN G. SCARLETT, SR.
Judge, Superior Courts
Brunswick Judicial Circuit
Scarlett also set a date for the hearing on the appeal filed by Crosby. The date has been set for June 25.