HOSCHTON,Ga (CBS46) -- "I am not prejudice" Hoschton Mayor tells CBS46 Bulldog as calls for resignation grow.
Monday night, the small train depot in small town Hoschton was filled with armed sheriff’s deputies and locals on edge.
The Mayor, Theresa Kenerly, attempted to end the city council meeting without addressing why the city is in the national spotlight. And she tried to shut up councilwoman Susan Powers, who had had enough.
"This is not on the agenda... it doesn't matter what you have to say," she said in response to Powers taking the microphone, and later encouraging her to resign.
Internal documents we obtained from the city, claim the mayor told council members in executive session, she pulled the resume of a black candidate for city administrator, because she didn’t think the city was ready for it.
In a newspaper interview, meant to diffuse the tension, Councilman Jim Cleveland also said interracial marriage made his "blood boil."
As you can imagine, things there went south. Especially as those in the hot seat retreated from the meeting.
"You don’t represent our community," one shouted. "Let the people speak," said another.
As an African American woman calmly expressed her concerns, the mayor packed her bags.
At least one other council member followed.
"How are they allowed to leave?" demanded another resident.
The mayor left the meeting under a deputy's escort, refusing to confirm or deny what she is alleged to have said and done.
She refused to answer reporter questions. Except ours. We confronted her before the meeting.
She did not confirm or deny the words were hers, but said, "I can tell you, I love this town, the people and I am not prejudice."
Late today, members of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus called on the Mayor to resign, citing our interview with her.
State Representative Karen Bennett (D-Stone Mountain):
“Mayor Theresa Kenerly says she ‘loves the town and loves the people and is not prejudice.’ In Hoschton, Georgia, Mayor Kenerly’s alleged statement that she ‘pulled the resume of Keith Henry as city administrator because he is black, and the city isn’t ready for this’ is nothing short of prejudice and evidence of implicit bias.”
“I am appalled, yet not surprised that the Mayor felt privileged and comfortable in making such a racist statement.”
“The resurgence in white supremacy in recent years plagues our country and hits home right here in Georgia. This act clearly violates anti-discrimination laws and the Mayor of Hoschton should be held accountable. The Mayor's tearful apology is more about getting caught than a sincere heartfelt regret, and as an elected official in 2019, she harbors racist behaviors.”
“If she cannot uphold the very laws that she swore to protect, then it is time for her to go. She was elected to represent all of the people, not just those who look like her.”