President Emeritus of Georgia First Amendment Foundation Finds Paul Moore’s Lawsuit “Frightening”

In the past few days, both WSB and the Milton Herald have covered the Paul Moore ethics saga.  This disgraceful scandal is enveloping the City and exposing a City Council and a City administration that consistently demonstrates that it cares more about protecting one of their own than about ethics and citizens.  Over the past year, Milton’s city government has had many opportunities to reign in Mr. Moore, but instead has acted to encourage and support Mr. Moore, thereby perpetuating the ethics scandal and its damage to the community.  Furthermore, the city’s strategy of ignoring the scandal and wishing it away have failed miserably.  And increasingly the dysfunction at City Hall is alarming advocates of good governance, such as the President Emeritus of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, a non-partisan organization founded in 1994 to promote government transparency and free speech rights in Georgia.  (Read more about this below.)

I am posting both the WSB video and a link to the WSB story.

The comments of Richard Griffiths of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation are troublingly enlightening.  Mr. Griffith rightly contends that a citizen filing a complaint should not find himself the target of legal action, correctly stating “a legitimate complaint to the ethics commission was upheld and now that citizen is facing legal repercussions that are scary and potentially expensive and that’s not right.”  Mr. Griffiths further stated “It’s very chilling.  It’s frightening.”  And it seems that Mr. Palazzo, who filed the ethics complaint, has already spent $30K on this matter . . . and he is likely to spend much more before all is said and done. I believe Mr. Palazzo should sue Mr. Moore and/or the City for these expenses.

The comments in the WSB story by City Attorney Ken Jarrard are also troubling.  Mr. Jarrard has spoken out of both sides of his mouth on this matter.  In its legal response to Mr. Moore’s lawsuit, the City argued for dismissal of the lawsuit:

However, lately Mr. Jarrard has changed his tune and stated that the City is merely “a bystander.”  And in the WSB story, Mr. Jarrard states that the city will “honor and respect any decision of the court.”  This is a nonsense answer.  The City has no choice; the matter is out of its hands.  Is Mr. Jarrard implying that the city has considered actions that would dishonor and disrespect the decision of the court? 

The question that Mr. Jarrard should be answering is: Why isn’t the City of Milton honoring and respecting its own ethics process and its own ethics panel?  Why is the City choosing to be a bystander?  And who is involved in the decisions about the city’s response in this matter?  Is City Manager Krokoff involved?  Remember that Mr. Krokoff himself is “conflicted” in this matter as he lives in White Columns.  Furthermore, it was Mr. Krokoff who advised Mr. Moore that he did not have a conflict in the White Columns traffic calming issue.  Not only is Mr. Krokoff conflicted, but it is not his job to advise Council on conflict of interest . . . a fact that troubled the Milton ethics panel.  So it strikes me that the City’s tepid and contradictory responses certainly protect Mr. Krokoff, who seems to have instituted a city government information blackout concerning the ethics scandal . . . again self-serving.  If Mr. Krokoff is involved in crafting the City’s response to Mr. Moore’s lawsuit, I believe such involvement is unethical . . . and perhaps an ethics complaint should be filed against Mr. Krokoff.

I am quite sure that City Manager Krokoff and City Attorney Jarrard are not acting alone in this matter.  Who from Council is involved?  Mayor Peyton Jamison?  Is Paul Moore involved?  It would not surprise me.  Is former Council Member Laura Bentley, Mr. Moore’s chief apologist, lobbying the City?  Will the City be transparent and explain its stance?  Or is the City going to hide behind the veil of attorney-client privilege?  Citizens deserve transparency about how and why the City has chosen not to support and defend its own ethics process and panelPerhaps Mr. Palazzo should sue the City to determine the truth in this matter.  Mr. Palazzo has been consistently treated unfairly by the City of Milton.  He deserves answers and justice.

Although hard to find, there is a silver lining in this matter.  Through its actions, City Council has put a huge political target on its back.  2023 elections are just around the corner.  Not only is Paul Moore up for re-election, two of his biggest backers on Council, Carol Cookerly and Rick Mohrig, are also up for re-election.  Ethics will be the dominant issue of the election.  Any decent challenger (i.e., ANY FUNCTIONING ADULT) will have little difficulty unseating these three council members.  And the Milton Coalition blog will certainly keep the ethics issue front-and-center during the 2023 election.

(I will also post the latest Milton Herald article on the scandal when it becomes available.)

Advocating For Ethical Government,


WSB Paul Moore Ethics Scandal Story