RIVERDALE — The Riverdale Ethics Board is scheduled to meet at 6:30 p.m. today to discuss pending litigation filed by Councilman Kenneth Ruffin against Councilwoman Cynthia Stamps-Jones.
Stamps-Jones has been the target of ethics complaints since at least 2015, when Ruffin and Mayor Evelyn Wynn-Dixon accused her of charging legal fees for looking into ethics complaints they had filed against her, as well as using city officers to escort her to Columbus for her sister’s funeral.
In October 2018, the Ethics Board held a hearing after Ruffin filed a complaint against Stamps-Jones. The councilwoman emailed city employees from her work account on Nov. 22, 2017, telling them to contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation “to investigate a local news story about the Riverdale city manager’s use of city property.”
The email subject line read, “Guns, drugs back on Riverdale streets after city manager uses evidence bay for free self-storage — Story | WAGA”.
The Fox 5 Atlanta story was about Riverdale City Manager Scott Wood allegedly using an evidence holding bay, with Police Chief’s Todd Spivey’s permission, to store and move an antique truck, furniture and a canoe.
Riverdale Police had impounded a car in a shoplifting case but found the evidence bays, which are basically garages, full, so they left the car outside in the fenced lot. However, someone got in, smashed the car window and removed drugs from the car.
The Ethics Board found Stamps-Jones had violated two city ethics code sections by directing city employees to take action on the incident without going through the city manager.
At the time, Stamps-Jones said she was protected under an Australian whistleblower act.
The Ethics Board also requested that Stamps-Jones “immediately take a voluntary leave of absence without pay, or immediately resign, until all Ethics Board-related matters are resolved.”
On Oct. 2, 2017, Stamps-Jones filed the first of two temporary restraining orders against the city. The court issued an order denying her petition for writ of certiorari.
On Nov. 9, 2018, Stamps-Jones appealed the Ethics Board’s decision in Riverdale Municipal Court, asking that all documents in the Ethics Board hearing and decision be forwarded to Clayton County Superior Court.
On Dec. 18, 2018, Stamps-Jones filed a pauper’s affidavit and a temporary restraining orders in Clayton County Superior Court against the city of Riverdale. More TROs followed against Mayor Evelyn Wynn Dixon; Councilmembers Wanda Wallace and Ruffin; City Attorney Lerin Barnes Wiggins; Ethics Board Chair Mary Lasonde; and Code Enforcement Officer Kimberly Blanks.
On May 8, Stamps-Jones filed an emergency motion in Superior Court “to preliminarily enjoin any and all Municipal Court proceedings within the city of Riverdale Municipal Court against the plaintiff, pending the outcome of the matters before this court.”
On July 1, Stamps-Jones filed an emergency motion asking the court to “enjoin the city of Riverdale from enforcing the June 3, 2019, order of the Municipal Court now being appealed.” Motions in that case, which Stamps-Jones asked to combine with the other, will be heard Aug. 9 at 9 a.m. in Room 403 before Judge Powers.
The Ethics Board also is scheduled to accept co-chairman Avery Randolph’s resignation, then possibly vote on his replacement.
The meeting will take place at Riverdale City Hall, 7200 Church St., in council chambers on the first floor.