The legal action to protect the city of Stonecrest in its court battle with former City Councilwoman Diane Adoma cost taxpayers in excess of $13,000, the city said in a news release on Sept. 20.
The city had to go to court twice for hearings related to a temporary restraining order against Adoma, the latest hearing on Sept. 17.
Adoma could not be reached at On Common Ground News’ deadline for comment.
Stonecrest City Attorney Janet Scott and city staff members were in court initially for a preliminary injunction hearing on a temporary restraining order filed by the city against Adoma. The city filed the action after Adoma attended an Aug. 26 city council meeting and acted as a council member, though she officially vacated her seat by qualifying to run for another office on Aug. 23.
City video and records showed that Adoma attended an executive session and attempted to vote as a council member in the meeting though she had another order signed by Judge Mark Anthony Scott confirming the fact that she could not keep her council seat. The former councilwoman also used her key and brought a CBS 46 camera crew into city hall and viewed private files of City Clerk Megan Reid.
A temporary restraining order was signed by Superior Court Judge Clarence Seeliger on Aug. 30, 2019, after a hearing that Adoma failed to attend. The order states that Seeliger also finds that the District 5 seat is vacant and prohibits Adoma from acting as a Stonecrest City council member in any respect including attempting to participate in any council meeting, attempting to access unauthorized areas of city hall, and harassing or attempting to direct city employees.
The Georgia Constitution states that any elected official automatically vacates their seat when they qualify to run for another elected office and “the term of the office for which such official is qualifying for begins more than 30 days prior to the expiration of such official’s present term of office.” Adoma’s District 5 term doesn’t expire until December 2021. The seat for which she is running has a term that begins in January 2020.
Judge Seeliger granted Adoma the opportunity to defend and have the temporary restraining order set aside at the Sept. 17 hearing. Adoma told the court that she was not a threat. She said she had never been derogatory toward the staff. Adoma said that she went through security to attend the council meeting. She entered the council’s executive session where the public is not allowed. She said that Judge Scott told her that she could attend the meeting, although she failed to say that the judge did not grant permission for her to act as a council member.
City Attorney Scott reiterated the justification that the restraining order be extended so that the city can function in an orderly manner. The judge said Adoma could file a motion to set aside his order, if she wins another elected position in the city.