Attorney: Emails prove collusion in redistrict suit
An attorney seeking to overturn the new five-district map for electing Fayette County commissioners claims to have found a smoking gun that proves two opposing attorneys colluded to file the federal lawsuit that enacted the map in March.
Attorney Wayne Kendall claims that prior to Peachtree City-based attorney Rick Lindsey filing the lawsuit, Fayette County Attorney Scott Bennett emailed a template for the complaint to Lindsey, who used that template to file a federal lawsuit against the commission seeking adoption of the five district map.
Kendall alleges further proof of such a scheme is seen in the billings Lindsey submitted to the county for reimbursement as ordered by the court. Kendall claims that Lindsey never billed the county for drafting the complaint, instead only charging for reading and revising the complaint.
Lindsey and Bennett have filed legal documents denying they conspired together to file the lawsuit.
Those denials are in sharp contrast to the emails Kendall cited.
“Although both parties dispute that they colluded to bring about the Lindsey complaint, the facts to the contrary overwhelm their hollow and conclusory denials,” Kendall wrote.
Kendall is representing two Fayette County citizens, Ali Abdur-Rahman and Aisha Abdur-Rahman, who are seeking to intervene in the lawsuit, which concluded with the court adopting the five-district map in a consent decree.
The Rahmans are also listed as plaintiffs along with several other Fayette citizens and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in a separate federal lawsuit challenging the district maps of both the county commission and the county board of education. In that lawsuit, the Rahmans and the NAACP are asking the court to require elections for the commission and board of education to be conducted by district voting on the argument that it will make it easier for a minority candidate to win election.
The downside of district voting is that it would allow residents to vote for only one representative to the county commission and board of education. Under the current at-large system voters may weigh in on all five posts for both agencies.
The county commission in February adopted the new five-district map and forwarded it to the Georgia Legislature, but the matter never made it to the full legislature for a final vote. That inaction meant the county was stuck with its old three-district map.
Lindsey in his lawsuit claimed that the county’s three-district map was significantly out of balance because of the disparity between each district’s population.
In his motion to intervene in the concluded district map lawsuit, Kendall is challenging a lack of service on the county commission and other defendants and the lack of an evidentiary hearing on the matter before the consent decree was adopted by the court.
Kendall also claims that the lawsuit should be rendered moot since Lindsey failed to state a claim that would allow relief from the court.