Lee County Commissioner Indicted - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Lee County Commissioner Indicted

June 29, 2005

 A Lee County grand jury indicted the county commission's youngest member. 

 Jo Ealum is charged with obstruction, furnishing alcohol to a minor and keeping a disorderly house.

 They're all misdemeanors stemming from an incident at the 21-year old's house on Halloween night. So what will this mean for her seat on the board?

County administrator Landford Holbrook declined to comment about the indictment, but he did say that because the charges are misdemeanors, it would not affect her ability to serve on the board. But her father is outraged and says the charges against his daughter are false.

Darryl Ealum says he was shocked to find out his daughter had been indicted. "None of our family or our attorney or anyone was expecting it at all. We're totally blind-sighted by these charges."

The 21-year old Jo Ealum became the youngest Lee County commissioner when she was elected last July. Now she's being charged with giving alcohol to minors. The grand jury returned a three-count indictment, obstruction of an officer, furnishing alcohol to a minor and maintaining a disorderly house.

"There's nobody gone and asked these young people, 'hey was there a party? Was Jo throwing a drinking party at her house? Did Jo invite you to a drinking party?'  Of course, she didn't."

The indictment charges Ealum with throwing a party and furnishing teens there with alcohol. Her father says that never happened.

"My daughter Jo was not having a drinking party. These young folks were at a party earlier. They came to Jo's house late. I think it was like 11:30 on Halloween evening, and it was an ad hoc type of gathering," Ealum's father said.

 Commission chairman Jackie Sizemore says he believes the charges are a personal matter Ealum must face.

"I think commissioner Ealum needs an opportunity to say some things for herself. I don't think anyone can say anything for her. She needs to be able to address this for herself," says Sizemore. 

 Ealum's father says once the facts are exposed, the charges against his daughter will be dropped.

Investigators said at the time of the incident that Jo Ealum used her position as a county commissioner to try to intimidate them into not making arrests.