MONTEZUMA, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Montezuma City Councilman Bobby Lewis has filed a lawsuit against the city and the mayor over a letter; claiming it was used to ruin his character.
Lewis's attorney David Bowers states his client was falsely accused of "undermining a narcotics investigation, videotaping a property under surveillance, and having and exhibiting 'deep seated racism'".
The suit filed in Macon County Superior Court in January 2013, asked for a jury trial and damages. The complaint names Montezuma Mayor Willie James Larry and the City of Montezuma as defendants.
The lawsuit includes a two-page letter dating back to February 2009. The document addressed to the Georgia Department of Labor was written on the City of Montezuma letterhead and appears to be signed and authored by Larry. At the time of letter, Lewis worked with the Georgia Department of Labor and was contemplating running for sheriff against Larry. It reads in part:
"Dear Commissioner Thurmond:
I would like to bring to your attention the local political activities of one of your Americus Vocational Rehabilitation employees, Robert 'Bobby' Lewis. Mr. Lewis has been waging an investigation into the efficiency of governing authorities which has singled out the City of Montezuma staff and elected officials...
I sincerely appreciate your encouraging Mr. Lewis to refocus his attentions on rebuilding his public image. I am sure that he is a competent professional and that he is capable of developing the confidence in his commitment to obtaining employment opportunities for citizens requiring Vocational Rehabilitation services...As the first African American Mayor of Montezuma, my dedication to serving our community is well documented. My 11 years of service on Montezuma's City Council and nine years as Mayor are due to my personal conviction that our citizens deserve fairness and judicious treatment...I hold hope that his hostile overtures are more the result of misguided good intention than the deep seated racism that so many of his comments and actions imply....
Willie James Larry
According to Bowers, as a result of this letter, his client was "denied advancement within the Georgia Department of Labor, and denied the opportunity to run for political office, and has suffered other financial injury." Larry's attorney did file an answer denying all claims.