Legal Action filed against Augusta City Council and mayor

July 11, 2005

In response to a violation of Georgia State law, legal action was filed against the mayor and members of the Augusta (Georgia) City Council July 7th. The action was officially acknowledged and confirmed today by the clerk of Superior Court. The action was filed on behalf of the people of Georgia by Georgia Heritage Council (GHC) and other plaintiffs.

GHC Chairman Jeff Davis states that "Augusta City Council was notified in writing back in late May that legal action was imminent if the city didn’t take remedial action to reverse their violation of state law." Davis said that “GHC and citizens across Georgia were outraged by the Augusta mayor’s unilateral removal of flags at the Augusta Riverwalk, as well as the alteration of the stone memorials, at the base of those flags removed.

“The memorials were an integral part of the historical display honoring past military service by Georgia citizens, from colonial times to the present. It is even more of a concern to learn that, not only was the act a unilateral decision made by Augusta’s mayor without the color of official governmental action, but the removal was done at the telephoned request of a Georgia organization on behalf of its sister organization in South Carolina, which was to have a convention at the hotel adjacent to the Riverwalk…

“Regardless of the reason for the removal and alterations, however, this unilateral act was in clear violation of the laws of the State of Georgia… GHC sincerely and repeatedly expressed hopes that this matter could be resolved short of protracted litigation, and GHC invited positive suggestions that could bring this issue to a mutually satisfactory conclusion.” The city failed to respond in any way.

Davis suggested that Augusta taxpayers should ask their city officials several obvious questions. Why are taxpayer resources being squandered in legal expenses that could easily have been avoided? Why did the former mayor violate Georgia law and fail to correct the violation after being notified? Why would the city condone the desecration of a monument to Georgia’s veterans? "We tried all reasonable means to get satisfaction short of litigation," Davis said.

The GHC’s purposes include “to preserve and protect the history and heritage of the State of Georgia, the South, and the United States from the colonies to the present.”

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