Brookhaven, GA, July 22, 2015 – by Trey Benton – The Brookhaven Post filed an Open Records Act Complaint with the Office of the Attorney General (A.G.) in June after months of trying to get Brookhaven Officials to release public records relating to the cover up of an incident where former Mayor J Max Davis was accused of sexual harassment after he sprayed a female City employee on the back-side with Lysol.
On Monday, we received a response from the Attorney General stating Brookhaven Officials improperly discussed in Executive Session how they were going to handle an email City Manager Marie Garrett sent to Human Resources Director Rick Stone documenting the Lysol incident.
The Attorney General’s letter also confirms Brookhaven Officials violated the Georgia Open Records Act by failing to produce documents pursuant to our request and urges the City to release any other documents in its possession that are related to this issue. We’ve asked the City to produce those.
City Officials have admitted the improper Executive Session discussions included how the City could conceal the issue. They have also said the decision to unlawfully redact and release false statements was not former City Attorney Tom Kurrie acting on his own without their knowledge.
Councilman Bates Mattison said Kurrie and Council discussed how to handle the situation and whether to release the records. “We absolutely knew about it,” Mattison told The Post. “We knew how it was going to be handled and were even given an option to go against Kurrie’s advice.” Instead, Council members agreed to go with along with the former City Attorney’s suggestions.
In fact, an email Kurrie wrote to Council specifically states, “Notwithstanding my legal opinion regarding disclosure, if it is the consensus of a majority of the members of the City Council to release the email, it should be released.”
Mayor Rebecca Chase Williams has told The Post on several occasions that she does not recall everything that was discussed and she knew nothing of the issue until a reporter called her and asked her about the sexual harassment allegations. In an interview with WABE 90.1 Radio Williams said, “The first time I heard any hint of this, any kind of allegation, was when the reporter from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution called me.”
Mayor Williams told The Post that she agreed a crime had been committed in the City’s mishandling of this issue. We asked Williams, why then, is the City was not doing their own criminal investigation into violations of State Law. Mayor Williams said, “Why don’t you do it”, indicating the City has no intention of investigating any criminal activity.
The Office of the Attorney General reserves the right to civilly and criminally prosecute such matters where it deems doing so is appropriate. On Monday, The Post filed paperwork formally requesting the Attorney General exercise that right.
New Interim City Attorney Chris Balch read the Attorney General’s letter outlining the City’s violations during Tuesday’s Council Meeting. Balch told the Council there are no sanctions at this time – assuming Kurrie and Davis being gone as the reason.
Below is the full Letter The Post received Monday, July 20th from the Attorney General and our full Open Records Act Complaint.