Georgia Supreme Court hands former Mayor Grogan a decisive win against the City of Dawsonville

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — In a unanimous decision today (Feb. 4), the Supreme Court of Georgia ruled that former Mayor James Grogan does not owe the City of Dawsonville any money and he is eligible to run for elected office in the future.

“All I can say is that I feel completely vindicated,” Grogan said Monday. “I am very pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision.”

Grogan v. City of Dawsonville lawsuit was filed in Spring of 2017 after the city council voted to remove Grogan from office. Grogan sued the city in an attempt to be reinstated. The city argued Grogan’s lawsuit was meritless and the Supreme Court had no jurisdiction over his appeal.

The Superior Court agreed and dismissed his claim. But the state’s highest court did not agree. “We conclude we do have jurisdiction over his appeal. And, we conclude the trial court erred in granting relief to the City on its “money-had-and-received counterclaim.”

The city claimed – and Superior Court also agreed – that Grogan owed the City funds totaling about $25,000. Again the Supreme Court disagreed.

“Of the approximately $25,000 the City claimed Grogan owed, about $10,700 was in salary paid to Grogan. The remaining amount of approximately $11,300 that the City sought to recoup was the value of health, disability, and dental insurance premiums paid for Grogan, a life insurance policy in Grogan’s name, payroll taxes paid on Grogan’s behalf, and amounts paid for certain business expenses. Outside of his salary, there is no indication that Grogan received money from the City. Grogan does not argue, and so we do not address, whether the City could ever recover only for money paid directly to the defendant.”

Until Monday, Grogan said he worried the lower court ruling might make him ineligible to run for elected office in the future.

But the Supreme Court’s decision states, “OCGA 21-2-8 requires a conviction and sentencing for a criminal offense before someone is disqualified from office. Nothing about Grogan’s removal shows that he was charged with, much less convicted of, a criminal offense.”

 

 

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