February 17, 2006
You may already know government watchdog Woody Merry is suing the Augusta’s government. But he’s not the only one. The city of Augusta is in the middle of over 30 pending lawsuits. News 12 has the story.
It’s one issue they all agree on.
“We’ve got our plates full and we’ve just got to work through it,” Jimmy Smith said.
Lawsuits are a problem, they’re adding up one after another, all against the city of Augusta.
“It’s a difficult situation. I’m trying to watch the bottom line of the city and anytime taxpayers’ money are being spent in this situation, I don’t think it’s a good thing,” Deke Copenhaver said.
And it’s not just Woody Merry suing the government. These Atlanta developers have filed a lawsuit because the commission denied their request to rezone land in West Augusta to build a shopping center. The owners of adult store Video X-Mart are also taking legal action after the commission revoked their license last year.
“I think we need to be a little more careful with some of the decisions that we make,” Joe Bowles said.
We researched court records and found there have been over 50 lawsuits filed against the city in the last five years. Nearly 30 of them are still pending.
“You can’t prepare for all these lawsuits hit at one time, you can’t budget for it,” Copenhaver said.
Commissioner JR Hatney agrees, it’s a problem. But he says there’s really no simple solution.
“People sue all the time. This is a suing age and the attorneys make sure that folks do this because they advertise,” Hatney said.
Commissioner Joe Bowles says there is something that can be done. Commissioners can listen to the advice of the city attorney.
“When your attorney tells you it’s gonna be a hard case to defend, you need to heed that advice accordingly instead of spending taxpayers money on a lawsuit the city problem will not prevail in,” Bowles said.