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Former Morrow official fights charges

Photo by Heather Middleton

Photo by Heather Middleton

By Kathy Jefcoats

kjefcoats@news-daily.com

A former Morrow city leader, and announced mayoral candidate, is fighting back against a 16-felony-count indictment that accuses him of making false statements, conspiracy and perjury.

John James Lampl, II, 46, maintained his innocence during an arraignment Thursday in Clayton County Superior Court. The indictment against him alleges that Lampl acted outside state law in developing Olde Towne Morrow, while he was city manager.

The indictments cover the years 2006-2010, and assert that the allegations were not known until July 20.

He is being represented by Atlanta attorney, Brian Steel. Steel could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Steel filed a flurry of defense motions in Clayton County Superior Court. They include a demand for discovery and disclosure of evidence. Steel also wants to know about any evidence of "prior difficulties" between Lampl and the alleged victims that the district attorney's office might present against him.

Steel also wants a list of people with knowledge of the facts, a list of witnesses and any criminal records those people might have.

Also included in the motions is the request for information on any agreements between the prosecution and any witnesses that could affect the credibility of those witnesses. Specifically, Steel wants to know if anyone who might testify against Lampl was given immunity or other consideration for their testimony.

Olde Towne Morrow was expected to boost the local economy, and lure tourists and travelers off Interstate 75. But city officials say the $12 million shopping district brought in only about $10,000, and they started taking a closer look at it. Officials discovered the structures did not meet fire and safety codes and lacked environmental and feasibility studies.

The indictment alleges that Lampl circumvented state laws concerning public bids, by contracting with house movers, a renovation firm, building materials business and a tree service.

Prosecutors allege that Lampl entered into contracts to move houses from several Georgia cities to the Olde Towne Morrow site with the plan to convert them into commercial businesses, such a gift shops and restaurants.

Lampl has a long history with Morrow. He served on the city council 20 years ago, worked as city manager, and then as executive director of the Downtown Development Authority. Lampl returned to the city council in a March 2010 special election.

Three months later, he faced allegations of intimidation, and was removed from the council last month.

He announced in late May his intention to run for mayor of Morrow.