Varnell chief considering criminal complaint against former councilwoman

Varnell chief considering criminal complaint against former councilwoman

August 5th, 2017 by Tyler Jett in Local Regional News

Varnell Police Chief Lyle Grant, on the right, listens as Mayor Anthony Hulsey reads a letter on behalf of a local businessman Tuesday, July 25, 2017, at the Varnell City Gym in Varnell, Ga. The Varnell City Council were meeting to decide whether or not to eliminate its police department, but there weren't enough council members in attendance for a quorum.

Photo by Erin O. Smith

The Varnell, Ga., police chief weathered a blow this week and is now on the attack.

"I'm going to push it as hard as I can," Lyle Grant said Friday afternoon, upon learning former City Councilwoman Andrea Gordy was no longer participating in an investigation into whether Grant stalked her, an investigation she helped launch.

On Tuesday, Gordy told the Whitfield County Sheriff's Office that Grant followed her outside his jurisdiction when she went to a home off Dug Gap Road. Gordy, who is a real estate agent, has a listing in the area. From the for-sale home, she said, she watched a police-marked Ford Explorer circle through the neighborhood twice.

"He's trying to intimidate me," she told the Times Free Press on Wednesday.

But after talking with her attorney, she had a change of heart. She declined to meet with a sheriff's office detective looking into the case.

"I just want this all to stop and put it all behind me so that I can focus on my family," she said Friday.

Grant, however, is not ready to put it behind him. He said he wants to meet with a prosecutor in the Conasauga Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office and pursue charges against Gordy for filing a false report.

To do so, he may have to prove that Gordy knowingly lied about him. He doesn't see that as a problem. On Wednesday, he described Gordy's accusation as a "lie straight from Hades."

Grant claimed to have objective backup: The time stamps at City Hall. When an officer was allegedly following Gordy, Grant says he was at City Hall. He says he clocked out around 10:30 a.m. to meet with District Attorney Bert Poston about a case.

Around 10:50 a.m., he said, the logs at the prosecutor's office show he signed in.

"People knew where [Grant] was at all times, and what [Gordy] was saying was not true," said the chief's attorney, Marcus Morris.

The feud between Gordy and Grant began July 11, when she was one of three council members to vote to immediately eliminate the police department. She said Grant's officers were out of control, getting in costly car crashes and aggressively turning Varnell into a speed trap town.

Mayor Anthony Hulsey vetoed the measure two days later, and Gordy resigned amid outrage from residents. In a lawsuit, two people claimed Gordy didn't live in the city. Though she stepped down, she maintained she was still a Varnell resident, despite the fact Morris claimed to have photos showing her picking up mail from a driveway in Rocky Face over several days.

On Monday night, Gordy posted online that the body camera footage of a pending criminal case contains rants from the defendant, former City Councilman Sheldon Fowler. In the video, Fowler allegedly yells about embarrassing rumors concerning the personal lives of Grant and Hulsey.

The body camera footage is not an open record right now, as the case is still pending.

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or tjett@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @LetsJett.


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