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Couple cites political favoritism in suit against electric company head




ABERDEEN -- An Aberdeen couple has filed a lawsuit against the general manager of Aberdeen Electric Department, after a man''s oxygen was cut off, along with his electricity. 


Essie and Bular Mae Daniel March 5 filed suit in U.S. District Court after their power was turned off, despite their request their December bill be reviewed for accuracy. 


Essie Daniel suffers from a condition which requires him to receive oxygen through an electronic breathing machine. So the couple paid the bill in full, despite having contested its amount, which, according to court documents, the Daniels say, was higher than past bills. 


The lawsuit charges Aberdeen Utilities Director Adrian Garth -- Aberdeen Ward 2 Alderman Cloyd Garth''s cousin -- with favoritism toward Aberdeen citizens who are well-connected politically. 


"Favored citizens of the City of Aberdeen, Mississippi, who are not required to timely pay their bills, include employees of the City and include persons who are either political supporters or potential political supporters of certain aldermen," the suit reads. 


"With a proper hearing, (the Daniels) could have demonstrated that the bill was excessive or that cutting off the power was inappropriate in view of the health condition of the Plaintiff Essie Daniel," the suit continues. 


In the suit, the Daniels say Garth, who did not immediately return calls from The Dispatch, had their electricity turned off without any due process. 


The Daniels are asking for damages against Garth and the city of Aberdeen for mental anxiety and stress caused by the disconnection of electrical service. The lawsuit also calls for punitive damages and demands an injunction be issued requiring the city''s power company to adopt guidelines to notify citizens about the procedures for due process in relation to the payment of utility bills. 


Aberdeen Mayor Jim Ballard has yet to review the suit. 


"The lawsuit has not reached my desk yet, so it is premature for me to comment," said Ballard. 


The Daniels are represented by attorneys Jim Waide and R. Shane McLaughlin; the city attorney is Timothy Ervin. It is unknown whether or not the city will seek outside counsel in the case.




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Reader Comments

Article Comment Ellen commented at 3/9/2009 1:45:00 PM:

I commend these people for standing up to the "good ole boy" government. I wish more people would do that. This country is in the shape its in because of crooked politicians. "I will scratch your back if you scratch mine." Do they really not know we know this goes on, or is it that they don't care???


Article Comment brassman commented at 3/10/2009 9:24:00 AM:

yes they know that we know about the good ole boys theory but they just dont care if we know. And yes it has been going on for over a hundred years or so now. and if we the people dont stand up for our legal rights they will be crammed down our throats with a gust of good ole boy rhetoric. The few aldermen that I trust are standing up for us. but the rest are all for them selves and their welfare. and not the welfare of the general public. where are all our consciencious lawyers that should be taking on these cases for the good of the general public and these poor folks that cant afford a lawyer. I remember a few in my past that were sympathetic to the poor folk that were treated unjustly. but Im afraid they are all gone now. and also this situation came about because of the politicians who were buying votes with the power bills and seem to have gotten away with it.
but beleive me folks the free lunch is no longer a right in this fair country. But the politicians are still among our villians and should be dealt with harshly like fired and replaced with some good and honest civic minded citizens of our liking. and not a bunch of self serving non ethical politicians. when looking for a leader ask them if they beleive the constitution of the united states of america.
then ask if they intend to live up to it.
thanks brass


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