Mayor considers lawsuit over liquor store claim

Published 5:00 am Friday, October 24, 2003

Mayor Bill Godbold said Thursday he is contemplating adefamation of character lawsuit against a Brookhaven citizen whoquestioned the mayor’s visit to a Wesson liquor store earlier thisweek.

“I’m thinking about it,” Godbold said about a possible lawsuitfollowing a special city board meeting Thursday.

Citizen John Perkins appeared at Tuesday’s regular board meetingand said he spotted Godbold and Traffic Supervisor Jimmy Furlow ina city vehicle at the Wesson business one morning this month.

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Godbold was not present Tuesday, but Furlow said they were inthe mayor’s personal truck and not a city vehicle. Aldermen electedto carry the matter over until the next regular board meeting inNovember.

Following Thursday’s meeting, Godbold informally talked aboutthe situation with aldermen. He and City Attorney Joe Fernald saidthere had been some “misrepresentations” made at Tuesday’smeeting.

“I assure you, I have not used a city vehicle to go anywhereexcept where I’m supposed to go,” Godbold told aldermen.

Godbold questioned how his personal truck could be mistaken fora city vehicle. He said his truck is a GMC with a winch in theback, while city trucks are Fords and do not have the addedequipment.

Regarding the trip to Wesson, Godbold said he and Furlow werechecking on city projects and decided to go to the store. Furlowwas on a lunch hour for the late-morning trip, said Godbold, addingthat he also was not on city time.

“The law says I don’t have to have any set hours,” Godboldsaid.

The reason for the trip, Godbold said, was to get whiskey for aBrookhaven High School homecoming party. The mayor, whoacknowledged health problems that do not allow him to drink, saidhe had not been to the liquor store since last year for similarreasons.

When contacted later Thursday, Perkins did not comment atlength. He indicated he had stated his case at Tuesday’smeeting.

“I’ve done what I had to do,” Perkins said. “It’s up to thetaxpayers of Brookhaven to decide what they think of BillGodbold.”