Chattanooga: East Ridge mayor testifies in ouster suit

Chattanooga: East Ridge mayor testifies in ouster suit

March 31st, 2009 by Elizabeth Ryan in Local Regional News

East Ridge Mayor Mike Steele is on the stand today to defend himself in an ouster suit.

Mr. Steel is answering questions from Charles Wright Jr., an attorney for a group of East Ridge citizens who filed the petition.

Mr. Wright is questioning Mr. Steele about the circumstances surrounding the termination of former City Attorney Cris Helton; the firing of Curtis Adams as East Ridge city manager; and his relationships with Waterhouse Public Relations and with Payroll Professionals Inc.

The mayor is in Hamilton County Criminal court before Judge Don Poole to respond to the petition for his ouster. The ouster suit filed last fall by East Ridge residents alleged Mr. Steele usurped his powers outlined in the City Charter by setting up an office and hiring employees.

An amended petition accuses Mr. Steele of attempting to gain a business advantage for himself by proposing the city use payroll services provided by Payroll Professionals Inc., a business his critics say he was associated with.