Candidates Claim Illegal Activity in Fort "O" City Race

Reported by: Bill Mitchell

Edited by: David Moore
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Updated: 10/22/2013 5:26 pm
FORT OGLETHORPE, GA (WDEF)-- On November 5th, voters in Fort Oglethorpe will elect 3 members of the city council.
The city has been rocked with controversy since last March.
That's when the council forced the police chief, public works director and city manager out of their jobs.
Now, there's a complaint of false mailers designed to confuse voters.

Fort Oglethorpe is a politically divided city.

THE JUDY O'NEAL SHOW UCTV "I'm going to offer a reward to anybody that confirms any information on anybody that had anything at all to do with this."

Earl Gray is running for re-election to city council...and he is angry about this mail-out that purports to endorse him and challengers Paula Stinnett and Craig Crawford.
It calls them "The Dream Team"

EARL GRAY, CITY COUNCIL MEMBER "Its obvious what it was put out there was put out there to discredit three people thats running for office in this city."

Paula Stinnett's name is misspelled on the card, which has no return address or phone numbers. It also takes a generally unpopular stand of urging consolidation of the various fire departments.
And, it suggests replacing long time city employee Phil Parker.
That has infuriated the three candidates

CRAIG CRAWFORD, COUNCIL CANDIDATE "I started seeing the way its been ran here lately, the last 6 months...especially through what happened in March...and started having dirty,backroom politics..sort of like this mail out."

Mayor Lynn Long says he has no idea who's behind the mailings.

MAYOR LYNN LONG, FT. OGLETHORPE "I'm going to be the mayor no matter who's elected,so I really don't have a dog in this race. Who mailed that ..who didn't mail that..I don't have a clue."

The card also mentions the return of former mayor Judd Burkhart as city manager---also considered a negative by some.

EARL GRAY "It's certainly unethical and if it is illegal ,and we find that to be true, we won't stop until we find out who did it."

Gray says he contacted the Georgia Attorney General's office to file a complaint.

The flier does not include the required information about who paid for it, but Georgia law is vague on who would do the actual investigation, and what the punishment might be.
Early voting is already underway.

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