A Superior Court judge has ruled against the citizen’s effort to recall Pendergrass Mayor Monk Tolbert.
A day-long hearing was held two weeks ago in Jackson County Superior Court with visiting judge John Ott presiding. Ott ruled Monday that the petition had insufficient evidence to support a recall of the mayor.
“The court finds that there were no fact or facts attached to each ground to support each ground as required by statute,” Judge Ott ruled. “…The court finds that the application for recall is insufficient in that it does not state with sufficient clarity specific facts on each ground with reasonable particularity to alert both the mayor and the citizens of the particular violations associated with the ground for which the mayor is sought to be recalled.”
Since the judge ruled that the petition was insufficient, he did not have to rule on each allegation. However, Ott did review each allegation and find them all to be unfounded.
“Even though the court has ruled that the application for recall is insufficient for the failure to specifically tie any alleged fact to a ground for recall as required by law, in an abundance of caution, the court will analyze the alleged facts to see whether the petition chairperson carried his burden of proof of probable cause as to each alleged fact,” the judge stated.
The first allegation was that the mayor allowed an illegal alien to drive a city vehicle and approved the use of city funds to pay a fine for the employee.
“The testimony at trial showed that the mayor never knowingly allowed any illegal alien to drive without a license, and once he became aware that Mr. Martinez-Olvera was an illegal alien, the mayor terminated his employment with the city,” the judge wrote in his ruling. “…There was no showing in the present case of criminal intent so there can be no crime.”