By Kathy Jefcoats
FOREST PARK — A stack of copies of an anonymous missive left outside Forest Park City Hall with a note urging, "take one," sent ripples through the city council meeting Monday and evoked a strong response from the mayor.
"Lies and cowardice," said Mayor David Lockhart. "You will not say you saw it and heard it because they were never spoken. To the author of this trash, you are a coward and a liar because none of it is true. This is nothing but trash."
Lockhart called for the author to own up to his or her words and stand up to be identified. When he realized the chamber was filled to seating capacity and residents were already standing up in the lobby, he asked for the person responsible to raise his or her hand.
No one owned up to creating the document, which includes an allegation of a long-range plan for mayor and council to orchestrate the return of adult entertainment centers, known as strip clubs. Lockhart repeated what he's said before: "This issue is not even on the agenda."
However, he said he has not ruled out hearing both sides, should the issue become an agenda item. Resident Ann Keith said Monday she is opposed to strip clubs in Forest Park.
"Obviously, people in the state of Georgia won't think they're a good idea," she said. "There's drug activities and murders on those properties. That's not good for a city. We need good quality businesses for our town."
Her remark drew applause from the audience but an opposing comment came from Roy Lunsford, who said, "Unfortunately, there's drugs and killings everywhere.”
Another part of the document refers to a conversation about Public Works Director Mike Gippert that reportedly took place between Lockhart and City Manager John Parker. Lockhart is accused of telling Parker, "That Mike Gippert, I want him gone. I do not want him drawing another city paycheck."
The Clayton News Daily has confirmed the conversation took place.
"Yes, it's true," said Gippert Tuesday. "He wanted me gone but I don't want to go into any details."
Gippert gave notice of his retirement days after the council fired the city attorneys but agreed to stay on until a replacement can be hired.