STONECREST, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - One city says a candidate for mayor has already cost their taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal fees.
City officials in Stonecrest say it all started when former Councilwoman Diane Adoma refused to vacate her seat after she qualified to run for mayor in August, violating Georgia's constitution.
The city then filed a restraining order against her after she attended a meeting and continued to act as a councilmember.
Like most municipalities, the DeKalb County City of Stonecrest records all of their public meetings and posts them online for transparency. City officials say video from the Aug. 26 meeting shows Adoma sitting in the seat she had recently vacated
“Well we still have to let that play out in the courts,” Adoma said about the allegations that she violated the state constitution. “We really don’t have an answer as to whether that was violated or not.”
But city officials say it was violated when Adoma qualified to run for mayor on Aug. 23. She was required to vacate her seat because she had more than a year left to serve as a councilwoman.
“If her seat had ended in December of 2019, then she could keep her seat but that’s just the law,” City of Stonecrest Communications Director Adrion Bell said.
City officials say no one confronted her at the Aug. 26 council meeting to avoid any kind of public dispute, but that didn’t stop members of the public.
“The law is clear, the seat shall be declared vacant. There are no exceptions,” one constituent said.
No one from the city responded to his comment but the city later took action by filing a restraining order, limiting Adoma to only public areas of city hall.
“I’m like a member of the public, you can’t ban me from city hall,” Adoma said.
City officials say the confusion cost taxpayers $13,000.
Adoma says she has not seen the invoices for those costs.