Local city settles lawsuit with restaurant owner for more than $1 million

HENRY COUNTY, Ga. — Groups gathered on the steps of the Stockbridge City Hall on Friday arguing about the future of city’s Mayor Pro Tem, Elton Alexander.

Council members announced this week that Stockbridge Mayor Anthony Ford sent a letter asking for Alexander’s resignation.

“It’s about the actions of councilman Elton Alexander, nothing more, nothing less,” John Blount, Stockbridge councilman said.

In 2017, the owner of BBQ Masters sued Alexander and the city for alleged harassment.

The business owner said the then-councilman demanded $60 of free food from the business. The city’s insurance paid a $1.7 million settlement to the restaurant owner last week.

In a statement, the owner’s attorney said in part, “No one — whether a small-business owner or a private citizen — should be treated in this manner, particularly by elected officials or those in a position of public trust.”

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“This settlement was about the rights and wrongdoings of one individual,” Councilwoman Lakeisha Gantt said.

An independent investigation by the city cleared Alexander. Some residents believe that council members have it out for Alexander.

“To this point, they still don’t do or come close to what he has done for the community,” Bernice Peters, Stockbridge resident said.

In a statement, Alexander said in part:

“I will not resign but move forward serving the citizens of Stockbridge who re-elected me after having full knowledge of these allegations and litigation. I did not support the settlement and did not have the authority to override the insurer’s decision. The people elected me and they will have a chance to judge whether I should continue if I seek re-election.”