Judge rules against costly lawsuit Muscogee County Sheriff John Darr filed

COLUMBUS, GA (WLTZ) — The Columbus mayor and city council high-fiver each other Wednesday after a Macon Superior Court judged ruled against a costly lawsuit the Muscogee County sheriff filed over a budget dispute.

Sheriff John Darr had demanded the city give him more money to run his department.

WLTZ First News reporter Robbie Watson reports on the details.

Reaction came swift and sure from all corners of Columbus after the Judge, the third one appointed to hear this case ruled that the city’s budget process isn’t illegal, unconstitutional or against the city’s charter as the Sheriff and three other city officers had alleged.

"It’s utterly legal. It has been legal from the beginning. The court’s order is very clear about that,” Mayor Teresa Tomlinson said. "Look, this whole thing was nothing more than a strong arm tactic to get some extra money in their budget.”

The Mayor took a victory lap in her front yard after the judgement was issued and took a jab at those officials who filed suit, calling it offensive to stick the taxpayers with a nearly two million dollar tab.

"It’s difficult for citizens to respect government in the first place,” she continued. "There is a lot of skepticism about government and then when you have elected officials misunderstanding the law and then really recklessly and irresponsibly filing these expensive lawsuits based on that flat misunderstanding, it cost us, not just in money, but I think it’s cost us relationships frankly.”

Darr’s opponents in the upcoming election wasted no time weighing in.

"He, in my opinion, could have exhausted every effort to work within the city’s budget but he didn’t" said Republican challenger, Mark Lajoye.

"I think the people want someone who is willing to come to the table, willing to come up with solutions and has a vision and is willing to work with other people to do what’s best for the people and I don’t see that." said Democratic challenger, Donna Tompkins.

Mum’s the word from the Sheriff and his attorney following the decision. The city expects the judge to issue a similar judgement in the pending lawsuits.

Mayor Tomlinson said the city would pursue all remedies to recoup that $15,000 in attorney fees Vivian Bishop and Greg Countryman charged to their city issued credit cards.

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