By Kathy Jefcoats
JONESBORO — Criminal charges have been dropped against ousted Forest Park City Councilwoman Karen-Brandee Williams but her battle to regain her seat continues, said her attorney.
Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson said Monday that Williams successfully completed a pre-trial intervention and diversion program. Charges of theft by deception, violation of the oath of office and making false statements have been dropped.
Lawson said Williams had to pay restitution to Forest Park, complete a class and do community service by sending Christmas cards to military personnel.
The charges are related to a 2011 investigation into allegations Williams misappropriated tax dollars while a Ward 2 representative. Several residents brought ethics complaints against Williams. The complaints alleged Williams used tax dollars to buy T-shirts displaying wording construed as campaign materials.
Williams said the T-shirts were bought to promote a citywide event and their purchase was approved by other city officials.
An ethics hearing was held in early 2011, resulting in the presiding officer confirming 15 of the 25 allegations. Council voted July 28, 2011, to remove Williams from office.
Williams appealed the ousting in a civil complaint filed in Clayton County Superior Court in August 2011. Washington is confident Williams will prevail.
"She was illegally removed from office by her former Council members as a result of charges that have been dismissed by the Superior Court of Clayton County," he said.
Dismissal of charges means Williams is not a convicted felon and therefore eligible to hold elected office. Washington said a plan to seek re-election may be in the works.
Forest Park city attorneys could not immediately be reached for comment.
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