CHEROKEE — The town and its clerk, Melinda Malone, have been dismissed from a lawsuit filed after the August municipal election, according to Cherokee’s attorney John McReynolds.
The third party in the suit, Cherokee Councilwoman Patricia Mason, remains a defendant, awaiting ruling on a motion to dismiss her as well.
Cherokee resident Deborah Malone requested an election recount the day after the Aug. 28 municipal election. She was a candidate for the District 4 council seat. Incumbent Patricia Mason won by two votes.
The recount request, by law, should have been made within 48 hours of the election canvassing on Sept. 4. Deborah Malone filed the request but failed to pay a security deposit, saying she wasn’t advised to do so.
The recount request was made on grounds that there was misconduct on the part of an election official, marker or municipal governing body; illegal votes were cast; rejection of legal votes and offers to bribe, intimidation or other misconduct calculated to prevent a fair, free and full exercise franchise, according to the filing.
The matter was addressed Wednesday in Colbert County Circuit Court.
Circuit Judge Hal Hughston dismissed the town of Cherokee and Melinda Malone from the suit.
“The town is out of a lawsuit it should have never been a party to,” McReynolds said.
Deborah Malone’s suit against Mason has not been decided.
Mason filed a motion to dismiss the claim because of what she deemed improper filing.
Hughston took Mason’s motion under advisement giving Deborah Malone’s attorney, Rebecca Narmore, and Mason’s attorney, Brian Hamilton, seven days to file briefs in support of their positions.
Deborah Malone said she accepts the judge’s ruling but isn’t prepared to drop the issue.
“I thought I could do something on the council, otherwise I wouldn’t have taken the time and money to seek that position,” Deborah Malone said. “I’m to the point that I want this corruption uncovered. I know in my heart this election wasn’t handled properly. I know of at least one person outside the city limits who voted. I saw the name myself.”
Mason declined comment on the matter.
Lisa Singleton-Rickman can be reached at 256-740-5735 or lisa.singleton-rickman@TimesDaily.com.