City of Riverdale sued by its own

The City of Riverdale appears to be suing itself.

City Councilman Rick Scoggins has filed a lawsuit against the Clayton city for what he considers the city’s illegal activity and bad land deals. But city leaders, like Riverdale Mayor Dr. Evelyn Wynn-Dixon, believe the lawsuit is frivolous and will cost the city and taxpayers.

“This could have been worked out in advance without going this far,” said Wynn-Dixon.

At issue, a sidewalk ordinance that, according to City Manager Iris Jessie, Scoggins voted for in 2007. Scoggins is also suing for what he alleges is an illegal $735,000 payment to the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) of Riverdale.

The ordinance is designed to maintain order and cleanliness of sidewalks and property in Riverdale. According to the lawsuit, the city has enforced the ordinance against Scoggins. He argues that the ordinance is illegal and the city does not have the authority to enforce it.

The city manager said the contract in question is connected to property purchased by the DDA for the city to use for construction of a park.  She did not give any additional specific details on the park.

The city attorney cannot handle the case because a city councilman is the plaintiff. Therefore the city will have to hire an outside attorney to defend the city.

“If the remedy is to undo all of that work that has already been purchased and deeded to the city,” said Jessie, the city manager. “That would put us at the beginning.”

The city has not yet answered the lawsuit, but plans to soon. In the meantime, the mayor said they are moving forward with business as usual on all of their plans.

“According to our charter, we have the legal authority to do everything we have done and are doing,” she said. “The reason for the lawsuit has yet to be given to us, but we will vehemently fight this lawsuit. Sometimes you have to say, enough is enough.”