Lawsuit claims Camilla councilmen don’t live within city limits

The lawsuit claims both city councilmen did not live in the city they were elected to represent.
Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 6:49 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - “This is really about accountability and transparency. It just makes good sense. You’ve got to have folks that are accountable to the people they’re serving,” attorney Chris Cohilas said.

Cohilas is an attorney at Watson and Spence, the firm that filed a lawsuit claiming Camilla Mayor Pro Tem Corey Morgan lives in Pelham, and that City Councilman Venterra Pollard lives in Albany.

“If you’re gonna actually make decisions that impact the police department and how it polices in a particular community, wouldn’t you want that person to actually live in that community?” Cohilas asked.

Morgan and Pollard declined an in-person interview with WALB News 10, but sent us this joint response:

“We (Morgan and Pollard) are both lifelong residents of Camilla – and combined we have been elected officials for nearly eight years. So we find it strange that two members of the Mitchell County Development Authority would now challenge our residency. It could be that we make up – for the first time – a progressive majority that believes in equity, inclusion, and diversity both socially and economically.

We were elected by the people of Camilla, so it will take more than half-baked allegations to overturn two elections and the will of the people. We will not be distracted, we will not be taking any detours, and we will not be discouraged.”

The lawsuit claims Pollard has lived in Albany for more than a year. A public information officer visited the Albany home Pollard is accused of living at.

“I think it was pretty interesting that when we served councilman Pollard, he was actually at an apartment complex in Albany where we said he lived and that he and another person hid,” Cohilas said. “And the fact that he took the lawsuit and threw it out the window and didn’t want to be served with it.”

Cohilas says council members should be paying the same taxes and utility bills as the people whom their decisions affect.

“Some folks may want power, some folks may want to be on TV, some may want to make decisions, some want to have the fringe benefits that go along with it. Some want to feel famous,” Cohilas said. “I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know this. Those are not reasons to be a council member. And they don’t get you past the fact you have to live in the community where you are voting on the expenditure of millions of dollars.”