City of South Fulton Councilwoman Helen Zenobia Willis gets a temporary reprieve from action that seeks to remove her from office. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com AJC FILE PHOTO

South Fulton councilwoman won’t be removed from office — yet

A retired Fulton County judge dismissed South Fulton’s attempt to remove a city councilwoman from office Tuesday, but members of council voted to hear the case again later this month.

The retired Superior Court judge, Thelma Wyatt Moore, dismissed the case before any evidence was presented against Councilwoman Helen Zenobia Willis. She said South Fulton had erred when the mayor, city clerk and city attorney all failed to sign the documents that charged Willis, meaning there was no case to consider.

“There are no charges before us,” Moore said. “My ruling is nothing is properly before us if it’s not properly signed.”

She said the council doesn’t have the right to appeal her ruling — though Willis does.

“I consider it done,” Moore said.

Nevertheless, Councilman Khalid Kamau proposed that the council again hold a hearing to determine whether Willis directed money outside South Fulton by supporting a tax abatement on a $27 million expansion of Halperns’ Steak and Seafood Co., which is located in the city. The company went to the Development Authority of Fulton County for the deal. Council members said that Willis should have directed the project to the city’s new development authority, instead.

Willis has also been accused of creating a hostile work environment.

The new hearing will be held Dec. 30. The decision to hold a new one passed by a 4-3 vote.

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