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Posted: September 28, 2013 7:40 p.m.

Newton resident, Conyers sue each other

Newton County resident Olivia Ware has filed a formal lawsuit against the city of Conyers, which in turn filed a lawsuit againt Ware for “abusive litigation” after she attempted to run for mayor.

The city elections supervisor decided Wednesday to disqualify Ware after an administrative hearing reviewed evidence that Ware was not a registered voter in the city and was a resident of Newton County within the past year.

Ware had filed a civil lawsuit against the city in Rockdale County Superior Court, accusing the city of failing to notify her of the administrative hearing and asking the court for a jury trial and to award her compensatory damages for emotional distress and attorney’s fees. On court documents, Ware wrote “the City of Conyers didn’t follow the General Municipal Election law (sic) fail to serve Candidate Notice to attend the Voter Registration Eligibility Hearing to Run for the Office of Mayor of the City of Conyers.”

The city claimed that Ware’s lawsuit was “abusive litigation,” according to a letter city attorney Michael Waldrop mailed to Ware’s three possible residences.

Attorney Carrie Bootcheck said a hearing concerning the matter is set for Oct. 2 at 1:30 p.m. with Rockdale County Superior Court Judge Robert Mumford.

Mayoral candidates are required to be registered voters in the city and to have been residents of the city of Conyers for at least one year as of the election date, which, in this case, is Nov. 5, 2013.

Ware did not attend a hearing held Sept. 20 concerning her case, despite being sent certified notifications and voice mails and an attempt to hand deliver the notice.

City Elections Supervisor Pat Smith then wrote a letter to Ware stating that it was determined that she will not have been a resident of the city of Conyers for a period of one year or longer as of November 5, 2013.

Ware voted in Newton County in February 2008, November 2008, November 2010, July 2012 and November 2012. Ware’s Newton County voter registration identified a Mt. Zion Road address. Divorce papers in Newton County courts also identified Ware as a resident at the Mt. Zion Road address. Ware also received homestead tax exemption on property taxes for the Mt. Zion Road address and was positioned to receive the homestead property tax exemption again for 2013 at that address. When Ware did transfer her voter registration address from Newton County to Rockdale County Aug. 16, 2013, it was to a Coal Shovel Trail address, which is in unincorporated Rockdale County, not the city of Conyers.

Ware submitted a Peaks Landing address on her candidacy paperwork, which also contained the statement “I understand that any false statement knowingly made by me in this Notice of Candidacy and Affidavit will subject me to criminal penalties as provided by law.”

Waldrop pointed out that the paperwork Ware had filed in Newton County, with DDS, with Rockdale County, and with the city of Conyers with different residential addresses were all sworn affidavits “that are in conflict with each other, all of which can’t be true.”

False swearing can carry a felony charge in Georgia, he said, if the District Attorney chose to prosecute.

Ware is already under a pre-trial diversion program for charges of theft by receiving felony which would end May 2014, if she complies with the requirements. At the time of her arrest by Conyers police in January 2013, she was booked in jail under the Coal Shovel Trail address.

In the Jan. 30, 2013 incident, Ware was charged with stealing five office chairs from a landlord who was evicting her from the Gees Mill address.

Ware will have 10 days from the Sept. 25 decision of the city elections supervisor to file an appeal in Rockdale County Superior Court. According to Rockdale County Elections Supervisor Cynthia Welch, at this point the ballot has been set and Ware’s name will still be printed on the ballot but votes for her will not count. Signs will be posted at the city’s two precinct polling stations notifying voters that votes for her would not count and notices will be sent out with absentee ballots.

Calls to Ware were not returned by press time.

On her candidacy application, Ware identified herself as a 54-year-old entrepreneur and minister. Her Twitter feed describes her as a public speaker and humanitarian and candidate for “Mayor over (sic) Rockdale County.”

Ware and her former husband, James Holmes, had reportedly received $27,000 in stimulus funds to pay low-income employees for their start-up cable company called Set-Free TV in 2010 but employees reported that they were not paid for the hours they had worked, according to a WSB-TV report.

She was also sued twice in Rockdale County by employees claiming they were not paid for their work. On her Facebook page, created July 1, Ware commented on another mayoral candidate, Kathy Harvey, saying that “Kathy Lorraine Harvey has worked under Mrs. Ware and feels that the (sic)community undeserving of her presence ... is this who you want as mayor?”

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