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Fayette GOP censures Hearn, wants new appointee to elections board

Displeasure with an apparent ethical misstep by Fayette County Commissioner Lee Hearn has stretched beyond giving ammunition to his political opponents.

Now the Fayette County Republican Party is weighing in on the matter, asking the entire commission to rescind the appointment of John Addison Lester III, Hearn’s second cousin, to the Fayette County Board of Elections. All five commissioners are Republicans.

In a letter written on behalf of the local Republicans to Commission Chairman Herb Frady, Attorney James Webb Jr. argues that Hearn’s failure to disclose his familial relationship to Lester immediately prior to the Feb. 24 vote raises some ethical questions.

“The committee feels that this lack of disclosure is inappropriate and breached the standard of ethics the citizens of Fayette County expect from their commissioners,” Webb wrote.

Hearn later apologized for the oversight, acknowledging that it was a mistake, but those comments came a week after Commissioner Steve Brown asked Hearn at the April 6 meeting if it was indeed true that Lester was a relative of his. Hearn replied that it was indeed true, that Lester was his mother’s cousin.

In the letter, Webb also acknowledges that the county’s ethics code does not expressly prohibit Hearn from nominating a relative to the position.

The Fayette Republican Party is not the first to ask the commission to rescind Lester’s appointment and start all over again. However, the party wants the commission to disclose any actual and potential conflicts of interest with a future nominee, including whether the nominee “has a special relationship with any Commissioner,” Webb wrote. “... Where such a relationship exists, the committee asks that the commissioner with the relationship recuse himself and refrain from voting on the nomination.”

Webb’s letter points out that by nature of the 3-2 vote, it could be viewed that Hearn’s vote for Lester was the deciding vote.

“We trust that the commissioners understand how these actions cast a cloud over the entire nomination process and that the recent apology does not go far enough in removing that cloud,” Webb wrote.

Hearn has been under fire from a number of citizens at recent commission meetings because instead of saying Lester was his cousin, Hearn merely said he was a friend he knew from church who was retired and had the time to do the job.

The appointment has raised concern about the potential conflict of interest resulting from an elections board member who is a distant family member of a sitting county commissioner potentially seeking re-election.

The criticism has since extended to Commission Chairman Frady and also Commissioner Robert Horgan, as they joined Hearn in voting for Lester’s appointment, over the “no” votes from commissioners Steve Brown and Allen McCarty.

The Fayette County Board of Elections is charged with supervising all county election matters in the county and also the voter registration process. The board consists of three members: one appointed by the county commission and one each appointed by the Fayette County Republican and Democratic parties.

Several residents have rapped the commission because Lester’s appointment meant that long-serving and experienced elections board member Marilyn Watts was shown the door.

Commissioner Brown said last week that an independent investigation into the appointment should take place, particularly in light of the discovery that Lester owns a controlling interest in a 109-acre parcel near the West Fayetteville Bypass.

That tract fronts along Ga. Highway 54 near Tyrone Road and is zoned for residential development: part of it is R-70 with minimum lot sizes of two acres each; the other portion is zoned agriculture reserve which has minimum lot sizes of five acres each.

Brown has said the tie between Hearn, Lester and the tract of land is a “direct link” showing the commission’s motivation behind construction of the West Bypass, part of which is now known as Veterans Parkway.

Brown and fellow commissioner Allen McCarty have pledged to scuttle the West Fayetteville Bypass, charging that it is being built to further the interest of private developers.

The bypass, once complete, will stretch from Ga. Highway 85 south at Harp Road up to Ga. Highway 54 at Huiet Road, ending at the intersection of Ga. Highway 92 north and West Bridge Road.

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Comments

BHH's picture

These jerks are finally drawing the scrutiny they deserve.

Let's keep the pressure on them.

pyramidman

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Now if the Democrat Party would come forward and denounce this election fraud - that would indeed be newsworthy. Not much chance of that.

Seriously if Jim Webb is now on the case, Hearn and Frady (and of course, Horgan) are in way over their heads. Little bulldog will make mince meat out of them and any effort to resist a redo.

Live free or die!

BHH's picture

that the Democratic party is watching and will jump at the opportunity soon.

pyramidman

ptctaxpayer's picture

Wow ! Steve Brown and Jim Webb in agreement on the same topic. All we need for the hat trick is an Editorial from Cal Beverly.

prove it!

Robert W. Morgan's picture

There are only 12 in Fayette County, but 2 are here in Peachtree City. David Worley and Jeff C.

Live free or die!

Of course there are Democrats in Georgia and Fayette!

Some in fact were Republicans at one time, especially under Reagan and Bush 1. Some of us left the party when Karl Rove sold for votes under Bush 2.

I think we fall under the title of Blue Dog Democrats - fiscal conservatives who support many Republican and Tea Party issues.....

Robert W. Morgan's picture

if only the Republicans could rid themselves of the religious right and never say another word about abortion.

Live free or die!

mudcat's picture

Cynthia Tucker surfaced again the AJC and she has decreed that Woman's Reproductive Rights is the new code word liberals are using for abortion - you know, baby killing on demand for the convenience of the mother regardless of heartbeat, sonagram or movement.

Dem libs are good with words. Wonder if they have a code word for their opposition to capital punishment for convicted murderers.

Thou Shalt Not Kill!

mudcat's picture

Libs don't read the Bible. But if we are doing biblical, how about an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth?

Think he wrote all them there laws way back around 1780 BC. Sounds like some plagarizing was going on somewhere, somehow or sometime. Or to be kind maybe it was just some borrowin'.

that if you committed the crime of stealing your hand would be cut off---likewise any other part of the body that was used to commit a crime--bet old Arnuld is happy we don't hold to those rules today.

PTC Observer's picture

I wonder if the told the maid "I'll be back".

I hear she is in hiding.

on at least one occasion!

Just what part of a female offender does Ham's law call for? There certainly are plenty of those also! Maybe a needle and thread?

Didn't Jesus counter that with 'turn the other cheek'? Just asking.

Liberty and freedom are confusing principles for some.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Americans have a right to posess a gun. Conservatives and the NRA object violently to any effort to limit that right. They want to carry their guns in churches, parks, colleges, and on and on.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that American women have a right to have an abortion. But conservatives and anti-abortionists across America try over and over to impose as many impediments as possible on American women when they try to exercise their rights.

For conservatives liberty begins with a gun and ends at a uterus.

lion

I am an Independent voter---belonging to no party.
I do know that all five Commissioners for Fayette ask for republican votes and are republicans themselves.

What I don't know is why an Elections Board nomination of a second cousin, who is a friend, and church buddy has any connection illegally to all of this fiasco. The fact that a lady was booted is not illegal- which made room for the second cousin.

I have so many second cousins that I don't know about half of them and wouldn't recognize them if I saw them. My third cousins may well be married to my Fathers third wife's daughter.

They also own some land somewhere. I have a third cousin who lives right here in Fayette County, my half-sister told me that, and we will have to be careful that none of my grandchildren might accidentally appoint one of her kids to something, or heaven forbid, marry one!

Now if knowing a second cousin well is illegal to deal with, then I suspect that many, many Fayette countians may well be married to their third cousin who had the same great grandmother as you had. They might even own some land on the WFB, or their fourth cousin might.

Can someone tell me what authority the republican party organization (who represent all republicans, they say,) has to ask anything of five more republicans on a disconnected board, who are dealing with another disconnected board (elections board, is it)?

It is right comical and of course nothing will come of it. May be the time for an Independent to run whose ancestors came from California, up near the Washington border. (Providing they didn't emigrate from the south to California).

I do hope Mr. Webb, Esquire, is getting paid by fellow republicans and not taxpayers money or other republican's money who are not on the party executive committee.

I see a couple of law suites coming here---making lawyers the best profession in which to get paid well right now during this great Recession.

Some LAWYERS already have profited well from these bypasses, I think.

I'll just bet some of these lawyers are third cousins to some involved here! Also, we would be lucky if the judges in these cases weren't their own grandpas'.

Unless some of the Fayette County people are from the land of NOD (who may have married their own sisters) then all of them are definitely related.

BHH's picture

or a close relative of one?

pyramidman

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Don't he?

Live free or die!

marriage between his first cousin to his second cousin once removed who was previously married to the sister of his third cousin who was the offspring of a coupling between his brother to his sister's step cousin on his mother's side who was married to her uncle. Sure explains a lot, doesn't it?

Much of our brain damage from intermarriage in this country came from Europe.

The royals of all those countries married each other so much that the genes really got scrambled. Many of them were possessed of demons causing the to have fits, die young, and were so ill that the "doctors" had leeches suck their blood out and kill them!

The ones that did live but were unusable, were relegated to another country including the colonies. Do you remember King George the VI, who was run off to France with a twice-divorced talented sex object who taught the King everything he knew about sex?"

Now, his brother, who was brain-damaged also, but was able to at least do what he was told,(after learning to speak late in life) was then crowned King and Produced royalty descendents who married Greeks (relatives) and had children who were also sex and divorce crazy. You know sucking of toes and such?

Diana and the son of the Greek had two boys who seem somewhat cleansed in that they can fly planes and soldier (when they wish). (although one of them seems to be a relative of George the VI with the girls).

There were many royals over hundreds of years from many european countries who had baffling looking children at birth and these were often sent to orphanages, married off to commoners, thus producing ship loads to us.

Then again when a successor was required and none was available, a male baby suddenly appeared to a German or some other royal woman who never
did gain any weight! Thus a protector was used until he kid could do as he was told. There were even a few Polish royals who mixed with other royals.

Thus, many of the cast-offs were loaded on ships and sent here. Many to the Appalachians and south.

My folks checked our tree and when a horse thief was found in 1776, she quit looking further, although one female was a lady in waiting in rank!

For those of you who don't understand satire when you see it---this is it for Fayette.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Is that why Prince Charles has big ears? What about Obama's big ears?

Live free or die!

It wasn't looks so much that bothered them it was the brain.

Although some did resemble those little Irish guys who carry pots of gold around!

BHH's picture

Thanks for explaining.

pyramidman

you are descended from royalty? And just what was that lady waiting for? And when your folks were checking that tree, did "she" find a few branches were bent?

Do you really mean that this is it for Fayette or are you just pushing our leg? And, just what do you know about sucking of toes and such; is there another side of you that we know nothing about? Oh, I think I met Satire once, she was real nice but talked with a heavy accent and had a dark moustache.

A lady in waiting is a personal assistant to a high ranking royal, but always of lower rank. Now that her sister is a princess, Pippa could be her Lady In Waiting--they ARE NOT SERVANTS.
Isn't all that a bunch of HS?

I think Princesses Beatrice and Eugenia's Mother was the toe sucker. (I would assume that if she had her toes sucked (a picture was available) that she would return the favor). I don't know what that means or does!

From what I know about me being British royalty, the best I could hope to be would be a Person in Waiting to another Person In Waiting. Although then I wouldn'know what I am here for!

Not safe!

suggarfoot's picture

It is really at the corner of the bypass and 54. Most of the frontage is on 54, but there is an iddy biddy lot between they major part of the 100 plus acres and the bypass. It does have some frontage on the bypass as well.

The sneaky way Hearn put his cousin in as his 'friend' has made him loose any kind of credibility. Everyone already accepts that Horgan is 'zoned out' and Frady is asleep. Not much to be said for them.

But what I really dislike most about Hearn is that if he disagrees with you pulls God out of no where and cloaks himself in that. That is my definition of a hypocrite!

Perfectly said...

Meanwhile....I remain a Blue Dog with a Reagan Republican heart!

Citizen_Steve's picture

This voter has had more than enough of Hearn, Horgan, and Frady's self-serving, dishonest practices and I look forward to the day these shameful characters are removed from office.

Your blog about cousins is not funny. This is a serious matter. Is that you Lee?

BBQ Jones's picture

Would you expect Lee Hearn to be treated fairly from the Fayette Republic Party with Marlyn Watts' son as the President of the Republican Party with Peter Piefier, Harold Bost, Greg Dunn, and Paul Pluner on the Executive Committee. These guys directed the attorney to craft the Censer Letter. Business as usual for the Fayettte Republican Party. If you aren't part of their group then IGNORE THE FACTS AND ATTACK!

The article states, "In the letter, Webb also acknowledges that the county’s ethics code does not expressly prohibit Hearn from nominating a relative to the position."

No one has presented any evidence why Mr. Lester shouldn't take the place of Ms. Watts. Being Hearn's second cousin and owning land in the county are not reasons to continue the attacks.

Rumor has it the good ole Republican Party is trying to kick their man David Studdard off the elections board to make way for putting Marlyn back on.

Does anybody else see the problems with old guard in the Fayette Republican party?

Please look into this matter - things aren't always as they appear!

BHH's picture

Which is that Hearn was less than open about this situation and can no longer be trusted.

pyramidman

ginga1414's picture

Hearn tried to conceal the fact that Addison Lester is his cousin!

Why?

The Lester Family Limited Partnership owns property along the route of Lee Hearn's "baby" (the WFB).

Addison Lester is retired from Georgia Power.

The Lester Family Limited Partnership has already sold property adjoining the 109.67 acres to Oglethorpe Power and the Fayette County School District.

Addison Lester sits on the Board of Directors for the Fayetteville Development Authority. He helps to set policy and direct development for Fayetteville. Mayor Steele wants to annex portions of the WFB into the City of Fayetteville.

The Lester Family Limited Partnership stands to benefit from development along the WFB because their 109.67 acres sits in direct alignment.

Did Commissioner Lee Hearn re-route the WFB through his family's property?

I believe in folks being able to develop their property, if that is what they want to do. However, I don't believe they should have a helping hand to do so. I don't believe they should be able to profit at the public's expense. I don't believe a former Public Works Director/County Commissioner should re-route a public road through a relative's property.

That is stacking the deck in favor of a relative!

CombatCorrespondent's picture

Board of Elections meeting was moved from yesterday at 5:45 P. M. to 6:00 P. M. on Thursday. They meet in Room 208. If you're going to be there for the County Commissioner's meeting, why not get there an hour earlier and check out the Board of Elections meeting too?

I was a bit confused last night when I showed up though. The website says the meeting was supposed to be the fourth Tuesday at 5:45 P.M., but the sign on the window at Room 208 (where they meet) says they meet at 5:00 P. M. on the same day of the month. And of course, there was no sign on the window to let people know the meeting had been changed to Thursday.

I went downstairs and asked and someone remembered that there was somethng posted on the county website changing the meeting. I'm going just to see what it is they really do!!

Mike

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