By Valerie J. Morgan
STONECREST, GA—Former City Councilwoman Diane Adoma has lost Round 1 in her challenge to Georgia’s Constitution, but she remains undeterred, despite a judge’s ruling against her this week.
DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Mark Anthony Scott on Monday denied Adoma’s request for an emergency injunction to keep her seat while she seeks the office of mayor. Judge Scott stated in his ruling that Adoma’s seat was vacated when she qualified to run for Mayor of the City of Stonecrest as mandated in Article II, Section II, Paragraph V of the Georgia Constitution.
Adoma, however, ignored Judge Scott’s ruling and drove from the courthouse in Decatur to Stonecrest City Hall on Monday. Adoma went into executive session with the City Council, and then seated herself on the dais at the council’s 7 p.m. meeting. Adoma took Councilman George Turner’s seat because her chair and placard had been removed, Turner had to find another chair. Adoma then proceeded to raise her hand to vote on city business and at one point, tried to second a motion. The council members ignored her presence. Adoma left the meeting at 8:08 p.m., and the council ended the meeting around 9:40 p.m. without her.
On Tuesday, Adoma continued her defiance. At 2:14 p.m., she sent Communications Director Adrion Bell, Elections Superintendent Megan Reid and interim City Manager Julian Jackson the following e-mail:
“I have not vacated my seat. However, I will be returning the city computer and phone,” Adoma said.
City officials said this evening, however, that Adoma had not returned the laptop computer and cell phone, even though she was posting comments to neighbors on the online platform, NextDoor, that she had complied.
Bell responded on Nextdoor to Adoma stating: “Your statement about returning all city property is in error and unless you can tell me who you returned more than $1,500 worth of city equipment to, then we will continue to maintain that you are in illegal possession of city property and therefore your statement is untrue.”
Adoma did return her City Hall keys on Tuesday to Bell at radio station WAOK, where she and Bell, along with Elections Supervisor Reid interviewed with talk show host Rashad Richey. The four gave their side of the story concerning Adoma’s challenge to the Constitution.
City Attorney Winston Denmark said today that the city plans to go to court on Friday at 9:30 a.m. on a restraining order it filed against Adoma on Monday. The order stipulates that Adoma may not be permitted in any areas where the public is not allowed at City Hall. If the judge signs the order and she violates it, she could be charged with aggravated stalking, a felony.
“We cannot have anarchy in the city,” Attorney Denmark said. “It’s one thing if you want to challenge the Constitution, but we have to respect the rule of law. What you do is take it to the Gold Dome and talk with state legislators and maybe you can get the law changed. What you don’t do is disagree with the law and say ‘We are going to go rogue.’”
Adoma posted online that she plans to hold a press conference to explain “the ambiguity and unfairness of the law.”