GOP’s Watts’ next stop: D.A. probe

Next up for embattled Fayette County Republican Party Chairman Lane Watts: A probe by the Fayette County district attorney for possible criminal charges related to Watts’ legal residence.

The Fayette County Board of Elections will turn the matter over to District Attorney Scott Ballard based on what it called an ethical obligation stemming from credible testimony that Watts did not reside at a Peachtree City residence from September 2011 through March 2012 as indicated on Watts’ voter registration form.

The board denied the Aug. 13 challenge to Watts brought by Republican activist and attorney Richard Hobbs.

The evidentiary hearing conducted Aug. 13 before Board of Elections members Darryl Hicks and Addison Lester dealt with the matter of Watts’ residence at 109 Gelding Garth Lane in Peachtree City from late September 2011 through mid-March 2012.

Hobbs maintained that Watts did not reside at the Gelding Garth Lane address even though Watts’ voter registration paperwork indicated that he did.

The elections board on Aug. 24 in denying the challenge said, “While the Board has an obligation to conduct a hearing on all challenges filed, it does not believe it has the authority to remove an elector from the voter rolls based upon irregularities on a prior registration.”

That said, the Board of Elections noted that it would forward the matter to District Attorney Scott Ballard.

“The Board heard the unrebutted testimony of three witnesses that Mr. Watts did not reside at the home on Gelding Garth at any time from September of 2011 until March of 2012. The Board finds these witnesses credible. Based upon this evidence, the Board finds that it has an ethical obligation to report this matter to the District Attorney for the Griffin Judicial Circuit for further consideration,” the determination said.

Testimony at the Aug. 13 hearing came from three witnesses. Two of them had resided at the Gelding Garth Lane address during the time that Watts indicated that he lived there. The third witness was a next door neighbor who said she spent a great deal of time at the residence. The witnesses in their testimony indicated that Watts had not resided at the Gelding Garth address between late September 2011 and mid-March 2012.

Three others were subpoenaed but did not attend the hearing. Those included Lane Watts, his mother and Board of Elections member Marilyn Watts and Peggy Perkins.

District Attorney Scott Ballard on Tuesday said his office has received the information, though he has not had time to investigate the matter. The issue will have to be investigated before the appropriate course of action can be determined, Ballard said, adding that, given the current court calendar, any forthcoming action might not occur until later this year.

The local Republican Party has been embroiled in recent months over the Watts residency issue. A majority of county GOP delegates voted to remove Watts from his role as party chairman, but that wasn’t enough to reach the super-majority threshold required to unseat him. Watts’ current term ends early next year.

kikenbutt
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Watts are still around?

That's to bad, reading all this about Lane Watts doesn't surprise me at all. Lane needs to step down, but I need to ask, who is the Vice Chairman? I pulled up a website and doesn't show officers. I've been at some of those meetings and decided not to join the local Republican Party. Personally did not see this group being productive or going anywhere. Their prime time activity was the Saturday at the IHOP, which I didn't enjoy.

Lane Watts is not a leader wasn't then, isn't now. It's ashame he and his mama haven't figured that out yet. Let alone, a possible felony charge. But, as always, the Watt's prevail, some how, some way.

Ballard, you also need to recuse yourself.

NOmoreapathy
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Mr. Hobbs

Mr. DA Ballard should step aside. The BOE should have ruled against Mr. Watts and removed his voting privileges. They did not uphold the law and therefore our laws are mute. With Mr. DA Ballard already stating that his agenda is full, he will no doubt let this slide. Unfortunately, the good ole boy system continues here in FC.

My hat is off to you sir, in appreciation of the collaborated efforts to end this sad regime.

stranger than f...
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NOmoreapathy's mute laws?

If your laws are so quiet, how might you understand them? I pray your silent laws induce apathy no more.

americanpatriots
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hutch866

Your comment is utterly stupid!

Jim Richter

hutch866
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Richter
Ben Nelms wrote:

The board denied the Aug. 13 challenge to Watts brought by Republican activist and attorney Richard Hobbs.

That is what AHG was referring to. But I can see your confusion, I'm sure Steve Brown hasn't given you your talking points yet.

americanpatriots
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Answer to athomegym & morgan

You are wrong! Did you attend the BoE hearing or the FC GOP meeting?

Richard was our appointed spokesman but HE WAS NOT the one that signed the charges that alledged Lane lied in filing a false voter registration.

The vote to kick Lane out as chairman failed by two votes. The rules call for a super majority of 2/3 rds of the voting membership in attendance.

This issue is far from being over! We now have to deal with the issue of Lane lying under oath and possibly being charged with a felony. That is a very serious matter in my view.

How can we accept this type of behavor from the leader of our party?

I'm absolutely certain that another FC GOP meeting will be held and that will finally end Lane's chairmanship.

I'm also in agreement with practically everyone that Ballard will do nothing because of his kinship with the Watts and their supporters. And, I suspect this will come back to haunt Ballard and could unseat him in the next election cycle.

Jim Richter

AtHomeGym
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Richter & Richard

When the article states "The board denied the Aug 13 challenge BROUGHT BY Republican and Activist Richard Hobbs----"BROUGHT BY" sounds a little different than "was our spokesman".

americanpatriots
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athomegym - your question/comment baffles me

I hardly know how to answer your question. There were five plaitiffs and Richard Hobbs was the spokesman and attorney.

What is so difficult to undestand about that?

Jim Richter

AtHomeGym
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Richter & Baffled

Sorry,I surely didn't mean to baffle you by quoting exact language in the Article--are you saying the words "brought by" were used incorrectly? To me (a simple guy) "brought by" means "initiated". Never mind--let's move on.

GeorgeDienhart
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That is correct

Mr. Hobbes did not sign the complaint.

Robert W. Morgan
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So, five people hired Hobbs

Who are they? Love to know the motive behind this and who the 5 people are.

If Mr. Watts is that ineffective, we can get Bost Hogg on his case or maybe even Steve Brown. And who are these people voting that need a super duper majority to do anything? Sounds like a bad system to me.
Seems like much ado about nothing.

AtHomeGym
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Morgan and "the five".

Steve Brown & George Dienhart were 2 of the 5.

GeorgeDienhart
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The motive

is adhering to election law. You have to live where you vote. We believe this alleged action is a symptom of Lane's lack of leadership skills, in general.

Robert W. Morgan
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I got it now, George. You are right in dumping Watts

Of course I learned about all that in the other newspaper instead of here, but what's new?

This AM, I know nothing and this PM because of the other newspaper, I am now an informed citizen. How 'bout dat? Munford, take it up a notch.

I thought Peetr Pfeifer was the head of the Republican Party and that was fine with me because he is a good man. This Lane Watts person living in Momma's basement sounds not much like my kinda guy.

BTW, did you hear the line last night at the convention - " living in their childhood bedrooms looking up at a faded Obama poster" Geez, how good is that? Might get out the unemployed Best Buy and Yahoo workers to vote. Question is for who(m)?

kikenbutt
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Lane and Marilyn

Watts are something else. I left that chapter many years ago and will never come back until they both are gone. I personally was in their destruction path just for asking questions. The mommy and son pair never followed the bylaws until it benefited them. Lane was also accused of mismanagement of funds as Chairman of the 3rd District and ended up resigning after realizing they were serious in removing him. There had also been other troubles in the Young Republican Club that he chaired. Marilyn, the mommy, is alot worse. Unfortunately, this alleged felony going to this DA, Scott Ballard, a Watt’s loyalist, nothing will change. The Watts will hang in there, no matter what, even when it will mean; continual unrest within the party, much disorganization, control, and no trust which leads good working, intelligent republicans to give up and leave this local chapter. This during a time of much needed help for Romney and Ryan to win the White House. Sad that Mr. Watts won’t just resign for the good of the party.

Lane and Marilyn please do the right thing!
2nd post

Robert W. Morgan
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So, who is pushing this and why is it so important?

I understand residency being a big deal if you are running for public office (Democrat Mabra being the one to get a pass) but why does anyone care about Lane Watts? I don't even know who he is or what his function is. Seems as if someone has too much time on their hands or maybe they want to depose Mr. Watts so they can take his place. So, who is behind this?

Doubt the DA is going to waste time on this. What's he gonna do - put him in jail?

GeorgeDienhart
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Hearing

Mr. Watts could have had his say at the election board hearing- he chose not to attend.

As Republicans, we care about Lane because we want a healthy, thriving and conservative party. A group of Republicans- comprising almost 2/3 of the party membership, showed that they don't believe Lane is capable of leading such an organization when they voted against retaining him. The position of County Chairman is important to both party's.

For the record- elected officials are ineligible to be party chairman.

Robert W. Morgan
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So, if 2/3 voted against him, why is he still there?

2/3 is an overwhelming majority, so he should be gone.

Robert W. Morgan
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So, if 2/3 voted against him, why is he still there?

2/3 is an overwhelming majority, so he should be gone.

GeorgeDienhart
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Almost 2/3

We fell a vote short.

AtHomeGym
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George & "A vote short"

So who was the wuss who abstained? Certainly doesn't say much for leadership unity, does it?

GeorgeDienhart
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It was a secret ballot

We picked up substantial support along the way.

AtHomeGym
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Morgan & "who is behind this?"

Richard Hobbs.

NUK_1
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Why not hold Watts' feet to the fire?

Repubs are always raising hell about alleged voter fraud so why not hold your own accountable as well? What Watts is accused of is registering to vote at an address that he didn't reside in which is technically a felony. Is that who you want heading your local chapter? It's not like the rest of the FC Repubs didn't give him every chance to either come clean or gracefully step aside either.

Lane Watts is a total joke who needs to go away.

Of course Ballard will do nothing. That guy has even less integrity himself and is an even bigger joke than Watts. I'll never forgive him for lying about being subpenaed to testify as a character witness for a molesting piece of trash and then being exposed as a total liar who wasn't subpenaed and did it voluntarily. Great job FC who cheerfully returns this lispy doofus to office over and over.

PTC Observer
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Wow Nuk

I am glad I am not a Republican, sounds like a bunch of screwed up folks.

GeorgeDienhart
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Nuk, you are right

We are trying to set a higher standard amongst ourselves as Republicans. Lane was given multiple opportunities to step down. He did not. As I have stated before, this will continue until we return the Fayette GOP to the hard working rank and file Republicans that are the lifeblood of the party.

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