By Kathy Jefcoats
JONESBORO — Former Clayton County District Attorney Jewel Scott’s ex-chief of staff prevailed Tuesday in his civil suit filed against her husband for causing his termination in 2007.
Earl Randall won $85,226 in what his attorney, Bill Atkins, called a compromise verdict. Atkins said the amount equalled about a year’s salary plus $13,000.
“I’m very pleased with the outcome,” said Atkins. “Justice for Earl Randall has been a long time in coming and if nothing else, this jury has given Lee Scott and his wife something to think about the next time they try to use a public office for private gain.”
Neither Lee Scott nor his wife spoke to Clayton News Daily following the verdict.
Randall was Jewel Scott’s chief of staff from mid-2005 after she took office until December 2007, when she fired him. She testified that Randall was incompetent but Randall said she promoted him twice in four months and bumped his salary from about $40,000 to $72,000 in the process.
Randall said he was fired only after he announced his intent to run for Clayton County commission chairman — the same seat Lee Scott wanted for himself. Randall testified that Lee Scott demanded his wife fire him if he didn’t drop out of the race.
Several years ago, Atkins also represented Donnie Hood, a county employee who committed suicide in the middle of a Jewel Scott investigation into alleged wrongdoing. Scott was defeated in her re-election bid in 2008 and is in private practice in Jonesboro.
Atkins’ thoughts turned to Hood as he mulled the Randall verdict.
“On a personal note, and something very important to me, I hope this provides some measure of comfort to those who remember Donnie Hood and all the other people this administration mistreated,” he said. “I credit Earl for having the courage and fortitude to stand up to them the last five years. Many people would have walked away.”
The verdict was announced just after 12 p.m. Tuesday in Judge Matthew Simmons’ courtroom after the jury deliberated several hours over two days.