Stockbridge mayor pro tem faces growing calls from city leaders to resign

The city of Stockbridge’s mayor pro tem is under fire by some of his own colleagues. Two of the city’s council members joined the mayor in calling for Councilman Elton Alexander’s resignation on Friday after a harassment lawsuit was settled alleging he tried to use his position to get a free meal at a bar-be-que joint and retaliated when the owner refused.

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is not personal," said Stockbridge councilmember LaKeisha Gantt at a news conference Friday morning outside of City Hall on Friday morning. "This is $1,725,000 to a victim who has been ridiculed."

Mayor Anthony Ford, whom Alexander steps in for as mayor pro tem in his absence, said he has lost his confidence in him.

"Please, let the truth set you free," Ford wrote in a letter to Alexander. "I request once again that you submit your resignation from your City Council position for the betterment, the bright future, and growth of the city of Stockbridge."

The owner of BBQ Masters, a restaurant in the town, alleged in the lawsuit that Alexander wanted his $60 meal to be on the house. When the owner refused, he said that Alexander sent code enforcement officials in to harass him, and he later had trouble getting a liquor license.

Both Alexander and the city settled the lawsuit without admitting any wrongdoing.

"My only desire is to bring joy, happiness, and prosperity to the city I love," Alexander said in a statement he sent to Fox 5 on Friday. "God’s lesson is to trust in him and take the high road even when confronted with a media firestorm. I take personal responsibility for this distraction and apologize for the negative attention it has caused."

The other councilmember at the news conference this morning, John Blount, said that Alexander has a track record of trouble.

 "With the City of Stockbridge, he’s got a letter of caution, he’s had six ethics complaints filed against him, and he’s been censured twice by the city," Blount said.  "And we just settled a lawsuit that was against him. This cannot continue."

At least two people who appeared to support Alexander got into an argument with the two council members following the news conference, but it was not clear what they were saying.

Alexander said that he has no plans to resign, adding that he was elected to office after the allegations had emerged.

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