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Defendants want George's money to pay lawyer's fees

By Sheryl Marsh
smarsh@decaturdaily.com 340-2437

Now that a judge has ended the Morgan County e-mail lawsuit, officials are fighting over who gets the $4,500 surety that Commissioner Stacy George posted.

Last month Circuit Judge Steve Haddock dismissed George's lawsuit against County Commission Chairman John Glasscock, District 1 Commissioner Jeff Clark and Data Processing Manager David Hannah.

George filed a motion last week asking the judge to give back the money he posted for surety when he filed the litigation asking for a temporary restraining order in January.

Huntsville attorney Julian Butler filed a counterclaim asking Haddock to give the money to the county's General Fund to help pay his fees for representing the defendants.

Butler referenced excerpts from orders that Haddock issued at different times in the case.

Haddock stated in an order that George had to post $4,500 for payment of "such costs, damages and reasonable attorney's fees as may be incurred by any defendant who is found to have been wrongfully enjoined or restrained."

Butler states in the petition that George lost in the case and taxpayers and Glasscock, Clark and Hannah should benefit.

"George lost, and now the defendants and the taxpayers of Morgan County are entitled to the $4,500 bond in payment of the attorney's fees and expenses incurred due to the defendants being wrongfully enjoined and restrained," the petition states.

George said he hopes the judge does not rule in favor of the defendants.

"I didn't hire their attorney," George said. "I got my own attorney, and those guys could've used Bill Shinn, our county attorney. I think it's wrong, and I shouldn't have to pay their fees for something that belongs to me and the public."

George alleged that the trio kept him from viewing e-mails on the county's main server after the commission majority ended a probe of inappropriate e-mails on computers.

The e-mail scandal stemmed from the former human resources director sending sexually charged e-mails to Glasscock.

George said he borrowed the money from a bank and contributions from Morgan residents helped repay the loan.

He said a ruling for Glasscock, Clark and Hannah would be "a ruling against county residents."

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