It looks like longtime Buford City Commissioner L. Chris Burge won’t face any opposition for reelection after all.
On Tuesday, Buford’s elections superintendent officially disqualified Gary A. Ingram, the 53-year-old truck driver who had been challenging Burge for the seat he’s held since 1992. Elections officials say Ingram is not technically a resident of Buford, is a convicted felon and has a state-issued lien for unpaid child support.
If true, each of those allegations are enough under Georgia law to disqualify a candidate. Earlier this month, the city officially challenged Ingram’s credentials. During a Tuesday hearing, which Ingram did not attend, the city chose to formally disqualify Ingram from running in next month’s election.
“Gary A. Ingram’s name shall be withheld from the ballot or it shall be struck from the ballot if the ballots have been printed,” a decision notice written by Buford elections superintendent Kim Wolfe said.
In a Monday interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Ingram denied or attempted to clarify the allegations against him, saying he wasn’t “hiding anything.” On Tuesday, he said he planned on trying to challenge his disqualification.
Ingram’s father evicted the candidate from the Forest Street home where he was living on Aug. 17, less than a week before he filled out his candidacy affidavit. The city argued that, because Ingram was “unjustly” living in the home, he is not a legal resident of Buford.
Ingram, a native of the city, told the AJC he’s currently living in his car.
Buford officials also say that, in 2004, Ingram pleaded guilty in Clayton County to theft charges related to a stolen $40,000 trailer. He spent about seven months in prison, records show. Ingram said he could have had his record expunged but didn’t have time to do so.
In addition, Buford’s attorneys pointed out that the Georgia Department of Human Resources filed a lien on Ingram in 2008 in the amount of $73,422.91. That money was allegedly “for child support owed to [Ingram’s] dependent children and public assistance monies paid to his children by the Department of Human Resources.”
Ingram contended that he owes money to his family, not the state.
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