A tape released online of a conversation between Probate Judge Charles K. Mays Sr. and Freya Pearson, the woman who is suing Mays for more than $20,000 in alleged backpay, reveals that Mays acknowledged her services but said he didn't have enough money to pay her and expressed concerns he might not be able to finish his first term.
The secretly recorded conversation also referenced an affair between the two.
The conversation was allegedly taped on August 8, 2014, before Pearson filed a warrant application in October seeking an arrest for alleged theft of services of more than $24,000 for hours worked from February to June in Probate Court setting up a veteran's or mental health accountability court. Mays had reportedly been told earlier in the year that such a court was not technically feasible within Probate Court. Pearson did receive about $2,000 through a temp agency for her court work and a one-time $2,500 payment from the county.
In the conversation, Mays outright tells Pearson, "I don't have the money or the wherewithal to pay you for your services. That's what causes me to step back. That's it in a nutshell."
Pearson said she didn't agree with that assessment. "In my mind, if you have money to hire another person, you can pay me," she said, referencing a Probate Court job offer to Deborah Anderson. "Just that simple. If you're willing to argue with Roselyn (Miller, the county Finance Director) over money to hire somebody, you should be willing to do the same battle for me for work I've already done."
Mays replied, "But see, the thing is, other people haven't had the background that you have. So they're not going to come after me, so to speak... the way that you have spoken and said things."
He also said, "It's not that I'm battling for them. It's just that they're working into whatever plan I'm in at that time."
Mays later said, "The monies that you were paid and the invoices, I did have to battle for that... And am battling now. That's why I don't want any more invoices or anything to go down because of what I've already paid out. And other folks are aware of it." He went on to reference "the $2,500," the one-time check cut from the county to Pearson.
He admitted he had not turned in an invoice Pearson had given to him for the hours she had worked.
"So you're scared to send it," she teased.
"I'm not scared of them," he said. "I want to make sure I at least finish this term."
Mays was elected in 2012 and this is his first term as Probate Judge and in elected office.
"Why wouldn't you finish a term? Everybody and their momma know about it," said Pearson, referencing her work in Probate Court. "They were talking about it. So clearly they know I'm working," she replied.
"Well, just avoiding any sort of ... anything that might come up. I'm sure with the way things have been talked about, it might bring an issue I'm just trying to avoid," he said.
"You talking about me and you?" she asked.
"Well, that as well," he replied.
"They need to get out of my sex life, that's what the hell they need to do," she said.
Mays also said he went to bat for Pearson against his family. Pearson, her teenage daughter, and 5-year-old granddaughter all lived in the Mays' rented McCalla Street home with Mays' wife and children.
"I do it all the time with my family," he said.
"I said outside of your household... There's nothing to lose there. Your wife ain't going nowhere," she said.
"No, she ain't going nowhere. But that's stress on the family in general," he replied.
"I get that," Pearson said. "But that's temporary and that's private."
Pearson asked if the fact he might have ramifications from paying her hours should affect her, and asked what he'd like her to do.
"To just drop it," he said.
"How does that help me?" she asked.
"It doesn't help you," he said.
"So you want me to drop it because I care," she said.
"Not just because of that, but because of the care that I show you. Show the same for me," he asked.
She replied, "I show you as much love as you show me."
For a link to the tape online, go to http://youtu.be/1Z3qgyWLPrU
Mays told the News on Friday he was not aware of the recording, as of Friday afternoon, and to contact his attorney Gary Washington. He said he would have to hear the tape first before commenting, but that he stood by his previous statements on Pearson's allegations against him. "None of the allegations she's making are true," he had told the News previously.
Pearson said in a statement sent Friday regarding the recording, "Judge Mays is around town telling lies about me being a volunteer. I was never a volunteer. But since he's telling everyone that lie anyway, I think being a volunteer is a good idea. So I thought I'd volunteer his voice to the public."
The warrant hearing on April 15 was deferred after Mays' attorney Gary Washington proposed a city of Conyers traffic ticket to Pearson caused a conflict of interest for Pearson's attorney, Mike Waldrop, who also serves as the city solicitor and city attorney. DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Linda Hunter, who was hearing the case since Rockdale judges recused themselves from hearing the case of a judge in the same circuit, gave the parties until mid-May to file and respond regarding this matter before she would issue a written ruling. Neither side had filed in Rockdale County courts on the conflict of interest issue as of Friday 4 p.m.