Lawyer: Hill should be mayor

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Last week, Vanessa Hill was declared the winner of Greensboro’s Mayor’s Election, which took place in 2004.

The decision was handed down that Hill was the winner by a 664-614 margin after 148 ballots for election winner Johnnie B. Washington were declared illegal. But, despite the decision, Washington continues to hold the post of mayor.

The declaration of Hill as the winner was far from the final battle in an election that has divided the city of Greensboro. Now, both sides are in the midst of a battle to place their client in office during the appeal process.

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Washington’s attorney, William Pompey, filed an appeal with the Alabama Supreme Court Wednesday, but Hill’s attorney Walter Braswell said this should not prevent his client from taking office.

“We think that Vanessa should be in office as we have seen the race was not even close,” Braswell said. “As large a margin as there was it seems to me that having Washington remain in office during the appeal would raise a lot of questions.”

Pompey could not be reached for comment.

Hill, Braswell said, should have been placed in office immediately since the evidence proved her to be the winner. It is senseless, Braswell said, to have someone remain in office who had already been proven to have lost the 2004 election.

“What we have right now is a guy in office when it has been legally proven he is not supposed to be in there,” Braswell said. “Meanwhile, his lawyers say he should be in there indefinitely.”

The same evidence that proved Hill to be the winner, Braswell said, should also hold up during Washington’s appeal. Braswell said Pompey’s failure to challenge their evidence should leave little grounds for a successful appeal.

“I see very little reason for an appeal,” Braswell said. “During the trial, they didn’t offer any evidence to counter the votes we felt were illegal. Their expert witness did not contradict our evidence. If they couldn’t go against that during the trial, then what evidence do they have?”

A second challenge for Braswell is keeping city funds from sponsoring the appeal. Braswell said he planned to do anything in his power to protect city funds from being used during the process.