Woody Merry Sues All Commissioners and Mayor

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February 8, 2006
Every lawsuit against the city costs taxpayers money. That includes the lawsuit filed by government reformer Woody Merry against Commissioner Marion Williams. Now Merry has expanded his lawsuit to include every commissioner, and the mayor. News 12 has more on how much it’s costing you, the taxpayer.

They’ve walked this path before. This time government reformer Woody Merry has included every commissioner in his lawsuit.

Merry and his attorney Joe Neal, Jr. filed the lawsuit Wednesday.

“We have expanded our petition to now include all commissioners both black and white, the government, and the mayor in our lawsuit,” Merry said.

“That’s why we’ve added all the commissioners and the mayor so we can have all of them subject to the same rules where these abstentions can not paralyze the government,” Neal said.

In the lawsuit every commissioner is named, including Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver and the consolidated government.

“In reality look I am trying to get the business of the city done. I’m going to let the courts figure this one out. When they need me let me know and I will answer the questions truthfully,” Copenhaver said.

But these lawsuits cost money. City Attorney Steve Shephard charges $125 an hour in preparation time, $135 an hour for negotiating contracts and $165 an hour for litigation. And it’s costing you, the taxpayer.

“I think the money can be spent for better things than that,” said Sandra Wiggins, taxpayer.

“I do think it’s a waste of taxpayer money,” said Golden Hare, taxpayer.

But Woody Merry’s commissioners are the ones that are costing the taxpayers.

“This is small compared to the money they have wasted, the millions of dollars wasted running an inefficient government,” Merry said.

And the money will keep adding up as taxpayers foot the bill.

A sworn affidavit was filed in the Clerk of Court’s office yesterday. It was from former Mayor Bob Young who is now in Atlanta as Regional Director of Housing and Urban Development. Young says when he was mayor he was denied his right to vote to break a tie on more than one occasion due to a commissioner abstaining.