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4 on PTC Council want Haddix to repay city $10K for libel case

When Peachtree City Mayor Don Haddix directed the city attorney to write letters seeking to cover his legal bills covered from a personal libel lawsuit, he did not make his fellow council members aware of the requests, according to City Councilman Eric Imker.

In a letter seeking to have the $9,969.40 in legal bills repaid to the city, Imker contends the city should not be on the hook for the funds. The letter, dated May 25, was authored by City Attorney Ted Meeker at Imker’s direction in part because council agreed by consensus May 17 to attempt to recoup the funds.

Despite the fact that Haddix was sued personally and not in his capacity as mayor, he has said he will not repay the money.

A copy of the lawsuit settlement released Tuesday showed that Haddix agreed to pay former Mayor Harold Logsdon $3,000 to settle the case.

The libel lawsuit was filed last year by Logsdon following an email Haddix wrote to a city staffer in which Haddix claimed that Logsdon attended city council meetings while “part drunk.”

The lawsuit was settled in December and Haddix authored an apology as part of the settlement.

Haddix was reimbursed for the legal bills by the city’s risk management company, which in turn had to bill the city because the bills did not reach the city’s $25,000 deductible for legal claims.

That means city taxpayers indirectly paid for the legal defense of Haddix since the city was required contractually to repay the $9,969.40 to the Georgia Interlocal Risk Management Agency (GIRMA).

In the letter to GIRMA, Imker claims that Haddix “concealed” all of his communications with GIRMA from the rest of the city council.

“Any responsible official seeking an outcome to their own personal benefit would have insisted on review and approval by council to avoid any appearance of impropriety,” the letter stated. “Mr. Haddix, on the other hand, acted unilaterally without city authorization, thus giving GIRMA the false impression that the city concurred in his actions.”

GIRMA had twice denied attempts from Haddix to cover his legal bills, based on the fact that he was sued personally and not in his official capacity as mayor. But a third appeal in February was successful in convincing GIRMA to reverse its decision.

When the matter was hashed out at the May 17 council meeting, it was the consensus of council to write a new letter to GIRMA seeking to overturn the decision to fund Haddix’s legal defense in the matter.

Imker’s letter notes that unlike all other situations in which the city is being defended by a lawsuit, Haddix was able to personally select his own attorney and unilaterally make all decisions in the case without any input from the rest of the city council.

“Neither the City Council or the Peachtree City taxpayers had a chance to accept or disprove anything in relation to this matter,” Imker wrote. “All aspects of this case were essentially unilateral decisions by Mr. Haddix. There was no involvement by the City Council, GIRMA, the city attorney or the taxpayers.”

Imker also notes in the letter that Logsdon has said he filed the suit against Haddix personally and not in his capacity as mayor so the taxpayers would not be paying for the lawsuit.

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Comments

PTC Observer's picture

"A copy of the lawsuit settlement released Tuesday showed that Haddix agreed to pay former Mayor Harold Logsdon $3,000 to settle the case."

Publish the entire document for all citizens to see.

Thanks

mudcat's picture

An agreement can be that simple with a little additional language about confidentiality and hold harmless. Of course the meat of this issue is getting the $10,000 back and forcing this pretender out of office. Very happy to see city council united on this, although it would be very difficult for anyone with half a brain to support what Haddix has done - and by that I mean everything from the e-mail, to the Fresh Market visit, to hiring Mrosek, to negotiating a settlement (rather than taking his lumps at what would have been a spectacular trial or hearing) and ending with the theft of $10,000. What an unbelievable story.

What goes through the mind of someone that would make even one of these blunders, much less all of them stung out one after the other? Got to some imbalance there.

PTC Observer's picture

We should see it.

I think we should also see the letter sent by the city attorney to GIRMA on behalf of Haddix.

Perhaps we need a new city attorney to represent the people's interests while we're at it. Why didn't he take this letter to the rest of the council! What did he say I his letter to convince the GIRMA?

There are a lot of unanswered questions and they will all come out in discovery.

Where is the council on this are they going to file a law suit to get the money back? Will we have multiple lawsuits going at the same time? Time will tell, but there will be at least one, that's for sure.

What was in the letter from Meeker that differed enough from the other requests to cause GIRMA to approve the request? That is the catalyst of this issue.

yellowjax1212's picture

That has been my burning question through this whole debacle

mudcat's picture

and it had to be something that convinced them that the mayor was acting on official city business. The only thing that comes to mind is that either Haddix or the city attorney stated that the other 4 council members agreed that Haddix was on official business while he was defaming Logsdon and doing all the rest.

Can't imagine that happening without someone telling a blatant lie. If it is the city attorney, he should be fired immediately. If it is Haddix, ethics charge and censure. And of course council could then sue to recover the $10,000 and Haddix could easily commit perjury at some point and that particular felony would get him out of office. Wouldn't it?

Mike King's picture

There is certainly quite a bit of information that has yet to be made public. Further, I believe that the former mayor has a say in making this thing public, and has to my knowledge not agreed to do so. All of which plays into Haddix's advantage of deceit and spin.

Another tidbit is whether Haddix can actually afford to repay the city. Who knows, if required to do so, what would keep him from filing bankruptcy? I don't have all the answers, only the current mayor does.

Personally, I believe only his resignation would allow the city to begin the healing process which is worth writing off the $10K. Just my opinion.

SPQR's picture

wondering when one of the chosen intellectuals would would seek the root of the problem.

Brer Rabbit's picture

What a ridiculous excuse for a mayor! Anyone with a brain in their head should know that you don't pay legal expenses for a government official that gets into trouble for running his mouth. He got himself into this mess by making poor choices and he alone should pay the consequences. It is totally unacceptable for the taxpayers to pay for this. Haven't they already paid enough for his mistakes over the years? To me, the council should be clear, either repay the city in full, or resign immediately.

abeautifulday4us's picture

Agreed---- Haddix's legal bills...The real question--- why did the insurance company pay him back? What REALLY happened? Why did the insurance company reject his request one time, two times, three times and then, voila, pay him after the City Attorney (appointed by the Mayor)wrote a letter the fourth time? Why didn't the City Attorney tell the whole council what he was doing? Why didn't he stick a copy of the letter in everyone's box? And what will the other 4 do about it? Nothing. They just want to get Haddix. They don't care about wasting the money. We need some big change down there.

bringinabroom's picture

PTC--- I couldn't agree more...They all need to go.

"The whole thing stinks--- time for a Spring Cleaning."

Brer Rabbit's picture

What a ridiculous excuse for a mayor! Anyone with a brain in their head should know that you don't pay legal expenses for a government official that gets into trouble for running his mouth. He got himself into this mess by making poor choices and he alone should pay the consequences. It is totally unacceptable for the taxpayers to pay for this. Haven't they already paid enough for his mistakes over the years? To me, the council should be clear, either repay the city in full, or resign immediately.

Check out the agenda for Thursday's meeting:

-Consider Salary Adjustment for Mayor Haddix; This item was requested by the four members of City Council

:)

NUK_1's picture

......

NUK_1's picture

He's getting paid less than already budgeted I believe right now as I recall he didn't take the approved pay raise a few years ago.

Knowing that dimwit, he's probably now asking for the "real" salary, even after shafting the taxpayers for 10K and embarrassing the hell out of the city over and over and over.

If it's the other 4 determined to force the 10K out of his pay, there are a lot better ways to handle this than an "adjustment." Be upfront and handle this the right way instead of a backdoor approach. Censure him, file ethics charges against him, encourage a recall effort, go to City Attorney Ted Meeker and get all the facts on this(which they are probably already doing since Ted may be getting questioned too), state at every council meeting about what a total idiot he is, etc.

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