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Mayor files petition in appeal case
Asks for new trial, jury
James Grogan
James Grogan. - photo by For the Dawson County News

A petition filed by attorneys for Dawsonville Mayor James Grogan earlier this month is the second step in what promises to be a lengthy legal process.

As part of the appeal of the city council's decision to remove the mayor from office, attorney Steven Leibel, representing Grogan, filed a petition June 14 to the Superior Court of Dawson County asking for the court to review the council's decision and demanding a trial by jury.

The petition also asks that the appellate court refer to the trial court's record but not rely on its judgment.

Grogan's initial appeal states that if the court decides not to grant a new trial, he will amend the petition to argue that the decision by the city was made in error, stating the decision was an abuse of discretion, was not supported by evidence sufficient to remove officers and violates Grogan's rights under the constitutions of the United States and the State of Georgia.

As expected, a June 29 answer by City Attorney Dana Miles asks that no new trial be granted and that the court dismiss the case.

The council voted 3-1 to remove Grogan from office after a hearing May 15.

During the hearing Dawsonville City Council heard findings from attorney Abbott Hayes as well as from Grogan's defense, and Leibel tried to prevent City Attorney Dana Miles and Mayor Pro Tem Jason Power from participating in the hearing due to conflicts of interest and argued that the council acting as a jury was a violation of typical legal proceedings.

Other objections by Leibel were that he thought the trial was unfair and that the council had already made up its mind prior to the hearing.

A day after the hearing, City Manager Bob Bolz delivered a letter to Grogan that instructed him to cease acting as representative of the city, turn in all city property and remove all personal items from City Hall.

Grogan's appeal was mailed to the superior court May 17 in order to preserve his rights, although Liebel argues that Bolz's letter was not a formal written record of the council's decision.

A press release from the city dated May 22 stated that Grogan will continue to act as Mayor during this portion of the appellate proceedings, until a decision as to his continued service can be obtained from the Dawson County Superior Court.

Miles asked in his reply to Grogan's petition that Grogan's salary and benefits, which the city has continued to pay since the appeal process began, be fully reimbursed assuming the appeal is dropped.