City council ousts Stockbridge Mayor Lee Stuart - CBS46 News

City council ousts Stockbridge Mayor Lee Stuart

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After nearly 12 hours of deliberation, the Stockbridge City Council decided to oust Mayor Lee Stuart from office.

Stuart is accused of violating the city's charter - and according to some council members, the U.S. constitution.

The vote wasn't unanimous, but after the council members spent two hours in executive session, they voted to removed Stuart.

Stuart even sat in the audience, not in his chair at the bench, during Monday's regular city council meeting.

City officials allege Stuart violated employee's civil rights by spying on their emails, disclosing confidential information and violating open records laws.

Stuart faced seven charges in total, all brought by special investigator Chris Belch. Belch was hired by the council and he also acted as the council's attorney during the proceedings.

The city council said Stuart is guilty on six of the seven charges, and voted to remove him from office - but Councilman Alphonso Thomas dissented at every turn.

"Were you satisfied with the evidence that was brought forward?" asked CBS Atlanta News.

"No," replied Thomas. "Not enough to remove a mayor, no."

Some residents worried the investigator, and city council, had an agenda against the mayor.

"What I found based on my investigation warranted these charges," said Belch.

Stuart vows to fight his removal from office.

"I've always said this is a continuation of the Kangaroo good ol' boy system down here," said Stuart. "I have done nothing wrong."

Stuart's attorney said they are appealing the council's decision. They hope to have their day in front of a judge in a Henry County superior court sometime early next year.

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