Dienhart, 4 others accused of defaming former chairman


    Peachtree City mayoral candidate George Dienhart is one of five defendants in a defamation suit filed last month by former Fayette County Republican Party Chairman Lane Watts.

    The suit alleges that Dienhart and four others “on multiple occasions … made statements to third parties that plaintiff was guilty of perjury.”

    The initial complaint, filed in Fayette County Superior Court, does not provide specific details such as the dates and times of the alleged utterances and writings in question.

    Dienhart said the lawsuit was timed to interfere with his run for office.

    “Filing it ahead of the election was no coincidence,” Dienhart said. “… It’s just dirty politics.”

    Dienhart said he has been advised that the lawsuit will likely be dismissed. He also questioned the fact that fellow mayoral candidate Harold Logsdon brought the lawsuit up during a candidate forum.

    Also named in the lawsuit are Fayette County Commission Chairman Steve Brown, Jim Richter, Michael R. Posey and Kenneth A. Murphy. Dienhart, Brown and Posey have each been active with the local Republican party, and Richter serves as the party’s treasurer. Watts is a past chairman of the Fayette County Republican Party who has clashed with new local party leaders over a number of matters.

    Watts is seeking punitive damages in the case, which was filed on his behalf by Atlanta attorney John T. Sparks Sr.