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Conyers mayor candidate facing felony charges in Newton County
Charges stem from 2004 alleged check theft and forgery
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Conyers mayoral candidate Kathy Harvey faces forgery and theft by conversion felony charges in Newton County Superior Court stemming from a 2004 incident, according to court documents obtained by the News.

Harvey, who lived in Covington at the time of the incident, had allegedly taken a check for $6,060 issued from an insurance company for services rendered by the Above All Carpet Care company and had cashed it in for herself instead, forging the name of the carpet cleaning company.

Court documents also show Harvey was going through bankruptcy proceedings in 2004 and foreclosed on her home in Covington in August 2005.

From 2002 to 2005 Harvey had multiple Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings in Newton County and had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Savannah in 1986, according to the court documents.

When contacted Saturday, Harvey said she would remain in the race and that her experiences allowed her to identify with others.

"Because of my experiences, everyone's challenges are my challenges," said Harvey. "Like many of my neighbors and friends, I have not led a perfect life. I have made mistakes, rectified them and moved on."

"My experiences are what fuel my passion to get out there and champion the cause to lead our city through a strong economic recovery."

She said the mayor's position was a part time position and that the city's finances were overseen by the city manager and finance director. "In no way does this take away from anyone's capacity to lead, just because we're part of the downturn in the economy. I have the skill set to lead."

She said she would remain in the mayoral race to "to offer the voters of the city of Conyers a real choice for the November 3, 2009 election."

Mayor Randy Mills said he had heard about the bankruptcy issues before and felt that was an issue between Harvey and her attorney. He said he hadn't known about the felony charges.

"It's almost inappropriate that someone would run for any elected office with those charges pending," said Mills. "It demeans the whole election process."

"Integrity, honesty and trustworthiness. The most important thing are those characteristics. If you don't have those characteristics, its very difficult, almost impossible," to work with the city council, said Mills. "You can pretty much become a non-entity."

City Manager Tony Lucas said Harvey had fulfilled the requirements to be a candidate, which were to be at least of 18 years of age, have lived in the city for one year, to be a registered voter in the city and not have been convicted of a felony or crime of ‘moral turpitude.'

"Although she has some criminal issues, I don't think at this point she's been convicted of a felony, therefore she is qualified as a candidate as we know it today," said Lucas. He said the city was required to verify the minimum requirements for candidates to fulfill the state law.

Rod Cole, the owner of the Above All Carpet Care company who had pressed the felony charges with the Newton County District Attorney's office, said he had been shocked to hear Harvey was running for mayor.

Cole, a Conyers native who played basketball at Rockdale High School and UGA, said in 2004 he had gone on an evening call to fix water damage at Harvey's home.

"Typically the insurance company covers this, so we waited," he said, pointing out it usually takes about 30 to 90 days for a check to be issued. During that time, Cole said he had called Harvey, who allegedly told him she had not seen the check.

After waiting about 90 days and being unable to reach Harvey, Cole said he contacted the insurance company, which told him it had issued the check a month prior.

"We get the back of the check, (we saw) Ms. Harvey had forged my name and her name on the back of the check," he said.

He pressed charges against her in Newton County Superior Court in July 2004. Harvey entered a not-guilty plea in February 2006 and the case was dead docketed, or put on hold, July 27, 2007 because "the defendant had absconded the jurisdiction," according to court documents. A 2007 bench warrant was recalled as of August 2009.

The case, which is prosecuted by the District Attorney's Office, is listed on the trial calendar for Oct. 26 before Judge Horace Johnson.

Cole said he won a civil judgment against her in Newton County Magistrate court as well in 2005. The amount was for $7,969 plus court fees, according to court records.

He said that his last contact with her had been three months ago, when she called to apologize.

"I just let it go at that point," said Cole. "It's been a long time ago."