COLUMBUS, Ga — Muscogee County’s new sheriff and Superior Court clerk have officially cleared the books of their predecessors to start their terms with clean slates.
News 3’s media partner The Ledger-Enquirer reports Sheriff Donna Tompkins and Superior Court Clerk Ann Hardman have both filed court documents dismissing the lawsuits their predecessors filed against the city of Columbus, some of its top executives and members of Columbus Council.
“I think that the lawsuit was not good for the people of Muscogee County and I don’t think that it brought about any good results for anyone,” Tompkins said.
Former Sheriff John Darr and former Superior Court Clerk Linda Pierce filed lawsuits against the city, the executives and members of council in late 2014, claiming that their office budgets were inadequate and the budgetary process was improper – if not illegal.
“This just puts a complete end to it and we’re able to move forward with the business of the city and stop this business of wasting time and resources on claims that should’ve never been filed,” Mayor Teresa Tomlinson said.
The Ledger’s report says lawsuits have generated many filings and hearings, in Superior Court and in the Georgia Supreme Court.
They have also generated more than $2 million in legal bills that local taxpayers had to pay. Since Darr and Pierce were constitutional officers, the city was legally obligated to pay their legal bills, as well as its own, of course.
Darr and Pierce both lost their offices in the 2016 elections, with the lawsuits still in the courts.