Party fracas: Where does Fayette GOP chairman really live?
Where the chairman of the Fayette County Republican Party lives has become a flash point in an intra-party squabble.
An internal, unsigned document written by unnamed members of the Fayette County Republican Party is alleging that party Chairman Lane Watts has misrepresented his place of residence that puts him in another Congressional district, thus making him in violation of party rules.
The document asks the Fayette County Republican Party Executive Committee and the county committee hear the specifics of the allegation at the next full committee meeting.
A copy of the document was reportedly delivered to Watts at the April 7 meeting of the Fayette County Republican Party.
Efforts to contact Watts for comment before press deadline were unsuccessful.
The opening statement of the document states that, “The egregious behavior and circumstances surrounding the precinct and county conventions warrants a thorough investigation by the county committee to determine if the following facts, along with the evidence that is to be presented to this committee hearing are proven such as to remove the chairman from his position and other remedies as the rules and Georgia state law allows.”
A summary of the document alleges that:
• Watts resides on Patricia Lane in Fayetteville at the home of his mother, Fayette County Elections Board member Marilyn Watts, rather than at the Peachtree City address that had been listed on his voter registration form in September 2011.
• Redistricting of Congressional districts was signed into law on Sept. 12, 2011 and that redrawing put his Fayetteville address in the 13th Congressional voting district rather in District 3.
• On Sept. 27, 2011 Watts changed his voter registration to reflect that he resided on Gelding Garth Lane in Peachtree City in District 3.
• The Peachtree City address on Sept. 27, 2011 was occupied by a family renting the residence and unrelated to Watts.
• On Feb. 18 Watts at a Republican Party precinct meeting was elected as a delegate to the 3rd District based on the Peachtree City address.
• On March 8 prior to the county convention Marilyn Watts was informed that some were questioning her son’s residency.
• Several unnamed people went to the Gelding Garth Lane residence and determined that Watts did not live at the address and was not known to the occupants, though they did know Marilyn Watts.
• On March 10, the day of the Fayette County Republican Convention, Watts said that, on that day, he had moved his residency back to the Patricia Lane address in District 13.
• Watts was elected as a delegate of the 11th precinct in the 3rd District. The change of residence results in his no longer being qualified as a delegate from the 11th precinct and, consequently, no longer qualified to serve as a delegate from that precinct at the convention. Watts admitted that he did not live in the 11th precinct at the time of the convention, which means he was no longer a qualified elector/delegate from the 11th precinct and therefore unable to serve as such.
• Citing Georgia Republican Party rules, the document states that only electors of the precinct may serve on respective committees and only electors who are delegates may vote.
• “If Lane Watts’ Peachtree City residency was either purposefully or negligently given as his lawful residence, and this was illegal, then he is not a qualified elector. If he was not a true elector, then his status as the county chairman is vacated as a matter of law. This means that all official matters signed by Mr. Watts after this date are void ... which means even the appointment he made to the Board of Elections is voided.”
The unsigned document asserts that, if the allegations are proved to be correct, Watts could be in violation of Georgia voter registration laws.
The document also requests that the party executive board/county committee conduct a hearing on the matter within 45 days.