.

Report: Former State Supreme Court Judge To Mediate Between Cumming Mayor, Attorney General, Citizen Journalist

Two lawsuits have been filed against the city of Cumming and several of its officials over alleged violations of state laws governing public meetings.

Self-described citizen journalist Nydia Tisdale says she and state Attorney General Sam Olens will undergo mediation with the city of Cumming over its alleged violations of state laws governing public meetings.

Mayor H. Ford Gravitt allegedly twice banned Tisdale from video recording a city council meeting in April 2012 and had her forcibly removed from the public gathering by police the same day Gov. Nathan Deal signed an updated version of the Georgia Sunshine Laws, according to Tisdale's post.

Two lawsuits resulted. Olens' suit, above, asks that Gravitt, individually and in his capacity as mayor, be fined $1,000 for the April violation and $2,500 for any subsequent violation, and that the court award the Attorney General attorney's fees and other litigation costs related to the action.

Having trouble viewing Olens' suit on your mobile device? Click here.

In response to Olens' lawsuit, Cumming officials challenged the constitutionality of Georgia's Sunshine Law and claimed Gravitt is protected under the state Constitution's official immunity doctrine and the city is protected under the sovereign immunity doctrine.

Tisdale's federal suit against Gravitt, Cumming Police Chief Casey Tatum and Deputy Police Chief Walter "Clyde" Cook asks for "nominal, modest compensatory and other damages" for alleged violations of her First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights and for false imprisonment, battery and harassment, as well as the imposition of civil penalties.

Having trouble viewing Tisdale's federal lawsuit on your mobile device? Click here.

The city answered the federal suit with a copy of Olens' state suit against Gravitt. Discovery in the federal case has been extended to Nov. 18 and several notices to take depositions have been filed.

Further action or a ruling on the open meetings portion of Tisdale's federal suit has been stayed until a final disposition of Olens' state suit against Gravitt, according to PACER, the federal courts' document filing system. The city filed a motion, above, asking for that part of Tisdale's suit to be dismissed. 

Having trouble viewing the motion on your mobile device? Click here.

In a post on AboutForsyth.com, a discussion forum "investigating corruption" in Forsyth County, Tisdale, a Roswell resident, says the city has asked her to enter arbitration along with Olens, as ordered by Senior Superior Court Judge Robert Adamson on or before Nov. 30.

Mediation is set for Friday, Nov. 15, in Atlanta with former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Norman S. Fletcher of Rome, who retired from the bench in 2005, serving as mediator, according to Tisdale.  

See Tisdale's video of the April 2012 city council meeting above or click here.

See the city of Cumming's video of the April 2012 city council meeting above or click here.

What would be a fair resolution to the lawsuits?

Tell us what you think in the comments, share your photos and videos, and don’t miss any of the local news you care aboutsubscribe to Cumming Patch’s free newsletterlike us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

You should also read:

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something