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Stockbridge shuts off water to DDA building


By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent

  Stockbridge officials have felt for some time that the Downtown Development Authority’s claims in their ongoing legal dispute don’t hold water.

  Now it appears that the city has gotten the Henry County Water Authority involved.

  The Times has confirmed that a call from City Hall resulted in a shutoff of water to the DDA’s main building on North Park Place during the middle of last week. DDA officials had it reversed after showing the water authority a copy of the recorded deed proving that the DDA, not the city, owns the property.

  In addition to the water being shut off, two meters had been padlocked at the request of the city. When DDA officials made the initial call to the water authority to make sure the bill had been paid, they were assured that the bill had been paid in full.

  Upon receiving proof last Thursday morning as to the ownership of the property, the water authority apologized to the DDA and moved quickly to restore water service within two hours, according to a spokesperson.

  The city official who made the first call asking for the water to be shut off reportedly claimed city ownership of the building, but the water authority responds to such disputes according to whomever is the title owner.

“We’re sorry it happened, and we’re glad the water authority got it back on,” said DDA chairman J.T. Williams.

  Kenneth Bernard, the DDA’s attorney, sent a letter dated Friday to city attorney Michael Williams regarding the incident.

“It is my understanding that the City of Stockbridge contacted the Henry County Water Authority to have the water illegally locked at the meter for a building owned by the SDDA,” he wrote. “Please allow this letter to serve as notice that this behavior is tortious interference with SDDA’s business relationships and properties.”

  Bernard wrote that he hoped the city would avoid creating additional liability for taxpayers through such actions.

  “Any future activity which interferes with SDDA properties will be met with swift legal response. While we appreciate your legal position, until same is litigated in the courts, it is inappropriate for your client to now suddenly interfere with the SDDA monies, properties, maintenance, and utilities at will.”

  The legal back-and-forth between the city and the DDA continues, as a recent motion for summary judgment was denied by Superior Court Judge Wade Crumbley but an amended and restated motion was filed July 2. A hearing on the new motion is scheduled for Aug. 7, according to J.T. Williams, at which time Crumbley is expected to either grant the request or call for a trial.



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