For the third time, a Stonecrest councilwoman faces legal action

Councilwoman Jazzmin Cobble.
Councilwoman Jazzmin Cobble.

Credit: Courtesy/City of Stonecrest

Credit: Courtesy/City of Stonecrest

A group of citizens in the city of Stonecrest filed a lawsuit against a sitting councilwoman, asking a judge to remove her from office over two missed council meetings last year.

The legal action asks a judge to clarify whether councilwoman Jazzmin Cobble should be able to keep her seat after being absent from meetings on Sept. 23 and Oct. 14.

The residents argue Cobble’s absences might have violated the city charter, which states that a seat becomes vacant if a council member fails “to attend one-third of the regular meetings of the council in a three-month period without being excused by the council.” Stonecrest holds council meetings about once every two weeks, meaning about six every three months.

It’s not the first time Cobble’s two absences, and the ambiguity of the language in the city charter, have been discussed. Earlier this year, the city itself tried and failed to take out a restraining order against Cobble. Stonecrest also filed a motion in DeKalb County Superior Court asking a judge to make an official ruling on whether Cobble could keep her seat, but lawyers representing the city dropped their efforts several days later.

ExploreStonecrest drops legal action against councilwoman over absences

“Five months ago, a prior effort to remove me from the City Council was dismissed because of the complete lack of any legal basis for the case,” Cobble said in a statement Tuesday. “I’m disappointed that these ridiculous efforts at suppressing the votes of the people is continuing, but am confident that we will prevail. I want to be working on advancing the City of Stonecrest, not engaging in political squabbles in court.”

Attorney Dwight Thomas, who represents the 18 residents listed as plaintiffs, said the lawsuit simply seeks “a declaration from the court as to whether or not she is entitled to hold that position that she’s holding.”

Thomas declined to say how the new suit came about, but said it is different from the city’s previous motion because the residents “were not part of anything in the past.” A judge also never formally ruled on whether Cobble can keep her seat.

The suit asks a judge to allow Mayor Jason Lary to appoint a replacement to fill Cobble’s seat.

Cobble has sparred with the mayor in the past on several city issues, and earlier this year he questioned whether she should be able to keep her seat.

ExploreJudge may decide if councilwoman loses seat over absences

Stonecrest spokesman Adrion Bell said the city cannot comment on the lawsuit because it does not directly involve the city or the mayor.

“It appears to be a private matter between a group of citizens and Councilwoman Cobble,” Bell said.

Thomas said his motions are “purely legal (and) have nothing to do with politics at all.” None of the 18 plaintiffs whose names are listed on suit are members of the City Council, but one is a planning commission member.

Cobble isn’t the only elected official in Stonecrest — which was formed in 2017 and is home to almost 54,000 people — to face legal action over her seat. Last August, the city took out a restraining order against then-councilwoman Diane Adoma, who had to step down from the council when she qualified to run for mayor but still tried to participate in a council meeting.

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