South Fulton city attorney suing her own mayor and a state representative

South Fulton City Attorney Emilia Walker (Photo: City of South Fulton)
South Fulton City Attorney Emilia Walker (Photo: City of South Fulton)

The city of South Fulton’s attorney claimed Friday there was an “unlawful conspiracy” by the mayor and others to fire her. The mayor says he’s just following the law.

Council members convened virtually Friday and were unsuccessful in resolving what has become an increasingly public fight between city attorney Emilia Walker and Mayor Bill Edwards.

Walker last week filed a lawsuit in Fulton County Superior Court claiming Edwards and state Rep. Roger Bruce, D-South Fulton, created House Bill 921 as a way to fire her. The suit also asks a judge to find the bill unconstitutional, alleging that it interferes with city business.

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House Bill 921 moves the city attorney position in-house under the mayor from the current contractor model that is common among cities in Georgia. The bill went into effect June 29, 2020.

Walker’s suit also contains a defamation count. Walker claims there is a recording of Bruce saying he created the bill specifically to oust her.

Bruce, who brought forward the bill, hasn’t confirmed that he has been served with the lawsuit.

The young city of 100,000 residents has been distracted by its city council but has still managed to get a municipality off the ground with services rolling.

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“This is a new city. We’re four years old, we don’t need this nonsense, and it’s not going to stray us away from being the city that we need to be,” Edwards said.

Walker, a city resident herself, claims the bill is payback because she hasn’t given favorable rulings to Edwards — a political ally and friend to Bruce.

An exhibit from a lawsuit by South Fulton City Attorney Emilia Walker shows photos of friends South Fulton Mayor Bill Edwards (in glasses) and state Rep. Roger Bruce, D-South Fulton. (Photo: Fulton County Superior Court document)
An exhibit from a lawsuit by South Fulton City Attorney Emilia Walker shows photos of friends South Fulton Mayor Bill Edwards (in glasses) and state Rep. Roger Bruce, D-South Fulton. (Photo: Fulton County Superior Court document)

Last year, council members tried and failed to remove Edwards and council member Helen Willis from office for their roles in a development deal. A report regarding the situation also indicated that Walker and/or her firm stood to make money on a version of the deal that didn’t happen.

Shortly after Walker filed the lawsuit last week, Edwards spoke with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Right now, my business is about running this city and taking this city where it needs to go,” he said.

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A week later during the emergency Friday meeting, Edwards was encouraging the council to get into compliance with the state law. Willis brought the motion forward to hire another city attorney.

“I am in a compromising position where I’m a policymaker and I don’t have legal counsel that I am currently comfortable with at this time,” Willis said.

Council member Khalid Kamau said he didn’t like the move for many reasons, including that he didn’t know how they were going to pay for a second attorney.

The vote failed 4-3, but many on the council agreed that they need to quickly resolve the situation.

“I am following the law as the mayor of this city. I ain’t personal. I ain’t nothing. I’m not coming at anybody. I’m not the one filing suits,” Edwards said.

Credit: WSBTV Videos

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