Ben Hill family says legal battle tarnished reputation -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Ben Hill family says legal battle tarnished reputation

August 14, 2002

A Ben Hill County family says their good name was dragged through the mud during a legal battle over some property they own in Lee County.

The Dorminy family owns land that Burkes Ferry Road runs through. A group of 13 Lee County citizens got a court order to open the road that is the only direct path to the Lee County side of Lake Blackshear. The Dorminys sued the County, saying this action was a violation of their rights.

Now, the County has given up any claim to the road, and the citizens group has apologized to the family. The Dorminy's have accepted their apology, but now say its their time to be heard.

Chip Dorminy says, "We have not had a chance to tell our side of the story or refute the claims, now that everything has come out, we are glad to get closure." Chip Dorminy's family owns the dirt and gravel road that is the only straight shot to the Flint River in Lee County. And, this road has been the focus of a lot of attention that the family says was many times negative and untrue.

The family attorney, John Crowley, says "Unfortunately the citizens group saw it better to take it to the media rather than the courthouse. The Dorminy's thought it the best course to remain silent, quiet and let justice run its course."

For the Dorminy's, justice came in the form of an apology. The citizen's group publicly apologized for their actions. The Dorminy's have dropped their lawsuit against Lee County, and have no intention to pursue any other legal recourse.

Chip Dorminy says, "All we ever wanted was to be left alone and tend to the family business." The family business in Lee County is timber, and since the 1950's the Dorminy's have been using this land for timber. Chip Dorminy says the family feels vindicated, and they are satisfied that justice has been done, "Grandstanding is not our way of life. We feel the true facts speak for themselves and justice served if given time."

The Dorminy's attorney, John Crowley, says he received several checks from private Lee Countians to help pay the family's legal costs. Crowley says these donors did so because they believed the Dorminy family was being unjustly treated.

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