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Mayor removed from office

POSTED: May 15, 2017 6:26 p.m.

The Dawsonville city council voted Monday afternoon, 3-1 in favor of removing Mayor James Grogan from office.

Councilman Mike Sosebee was the lone dissenting vote.

The vote comes after allegations that Grogan misused city funds, as well as unilaterally made decisions that violate city charter.

The city council hired attorney Abbott Hayes in April to investigate Grogan's actions, which Hayes said he found were grounds for Grogan's removal.

Hayes presented a report of his findings during the hearing, a report he previously gave at the May 1 city council meeting.

The report alleged that Grogan reduced rezoning fees for five property owners who applied to annex five parcels of land into the city without council approval; reduced the amount that city property owner and State Representative Kevin Tanner paid in water bills; approved payment to nonprofit organizations for golf tournaments in which he participated as player; purchased alcohol and gas with a city issued credit card, though he was not reimbursed for those expenses; bought four bottles of moonshine for door prizes; and authorized payment for meetings without pre approval by council.

Hayes also presented more than 500 pages of documentation that he said back up the claims in his report.

Grogan's attorney, Steve Leibel, questioned Hayes about the way the investigation was conducted, including how Hayes neglected to also investigate members of the city council for similar offenses.

"Do you think it would have been important for you to investigate these folks as well as the mayor to determine whether or not the mayor should be, I'm sorry, not impeached, but removed?" Leibel asked Hayes.

"I have no opinion about importance," Hayes responded. "I was simply given a charge."

Councilman Caleb Phillips made the motion to remove Grogan from office, and Councilwoman Angie Smith seconded the motion. It was passed with Council Member Mike Sosebee dissenting and Council Member Jason Power, who was serving as Mayor Pro Tem, voting in favor of removal. 

"I'm proud of Mike Sosebee for doing what he did," Grogan said after the vote. "It feels like...the decision was made some time back to remove me and I don't know where this is coming from other than just a search for power. Somebody wants it and I hope they understand that power is something that is fleeting."

Grogan can appeal the decision in the superior court of Dawson County.

This story will be updated. Check back to dawsonnews.com or see Wednesday's print edition of Dawson County News.

 

 

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