CD Media has been following a formal GA GOP appeal from Chatham County since late August. The appeal is now lodged in the First District GOP jurisdiction, which consists of seventeen south Georgia counties – Bacon, Brantley, Bryan, Camden, Charlton, Chatham, Clinch, Echols, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, Lowndes, McIntosh, Pierce, Ware, and Wayne county. This article is an update to what we previously published on July 27 and most recently on October 29 when the Chatham First Patriots filed a supplement called the ‘October 28 Notice’ to the First District Committee.
The appeal, from a consortium of Republicans called the Chatham First Patriots, challenged what they calculated as an out-of-bounds election of 54 at-large members to their Chatham County Republican Party (CCRP) Committee whose job it is to handle party affairs. Their Executive Board hosted a meeting of the committee with about 45 voting members present on July 22 at St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church in Savannah, where the specific actions culminated. CD Media has possession of a redacted version of the appeal and an account of the 30 pages of attachments. The appeal simply asks that the action be nullified and the 40+ Precinct Chairmen seats remain open until they are properly filled.
At closer examination, Chatham Firsties found that CCRP Chairman, Leonard Massey, had overtly misled the at-large process in a manner allegedly against Robert’s Rules of Order, which governs the Georgia Republican Party, Inc, save any specific Rules that conflict. He failed to present the individuals at an executive meeting or call an on-record nomination vote of the County Executive Committee on this massive number of individuals. Instead, he sent out a list 48 hours prior, on July 20, with absolutely no contact information and implored them to email him a yes / no vote, in order to present it to the larger Chatham County Committee.
In order to gain influence, several establishment committee members, ‘conservative’ club leaders, public office holders, and GOP candidates allegedly collaborated with the party to push their people onto the list to fill empty spots reserved for Precinct Chairmen. They list even included former Savannah Mayor Eddie Deloach, several existing voting members spouses, and State Senator Ben Watson’s wife (Note: Watson already had a spot on the committee). It was evident that recruiting legitimate geographical leaders needed to solidify the party was low priority. Party officers added ZERO additional Precinct Chairmen between the initial Precinct caucus on March 20 and the July 22 meeting, yet there were approximately 42 empty precincts that needed organizing, by all GOP standards. According to the numbers, minority politic and minority racial precincts were the majority of the unrepresented, empty seats.
By sworn affidavit, several on the at-large list shockingly stated that the party failed to notify them of their consideration for a county committee position. Later, research found that this was the case for nearly all of the people on the list. The Chairman allowed for some good debate, but ultimately Chairman Massey and First Vice Chairman, Carl Smith, pushed the entire list to the county committee for a public vote without the consent of the 54 individuals and with a spoiled proxy vote process.
As the ‘consent of the governed’ is part of our American law, so is the consent of the nominated and elected. Per Robert’s Rules, at the moment of public nomination, the individual rises and either accepts or refuses a nomination. To progress entirely to an election without consent is flagrantly wrong on every ethical, moral, legal, and Constitutional level. Those put forth were not able to speak on their own behalf. Only a few of them were even present for the vote, not having been formally invited to observe the proceedings in their regard.
“The Chatham County Republican Party Executives are responsible for this action against the tenets of organized societies everywhere. As such, these activities are soundly against the interest of the Georgia Republican Party and the National GOP”, declared Chatham County Patriots.
Exceeding the standard of the Rules of the Georgia Republican Party, Inc., thirty-two Chatham First Patriots signed and filed a formal 8.8b GA GOP to these CCRP actions. Twenty-six of these individuals are voting officers on the county committee, representing nearly 40% of the voting quorum from the meeting on July 22. Several individuals, who were nominated without their consent, wrote affidavits contesting public actions regarding their name and personhood. A member of the county committee also notarized an attestation that she did not receive the list prior to the meeting, along with others.
On August 20, the Chatham First Patriots filed the appeal with the GOP Chatham County Chairman, the First Congressional District GOP Chairman, and the State GOP Chairman. They tracked delivery and confirmed receipts by all parties, and even delivered a hard copy of the appeal and addendums to Massey’s workplace, because there is currently no physical headquarters location for the county party. The Headquarters building closed several months ago and they have not established a new location due to lack of funds. This is also alarming, considering that Chatham county has the ninth most Republican votes in the state of Georgia, out of 159 counties.
The County Chairman had jurisdiction of the appeal for 45 days, but completely failed to call his county committee for a meeting to handle it per State Rule 8.8b. Instead, he attempted back door tactics to supposedly resolve the matter. His window to handle the matter was from August 20 to October 4. At that time, and because there was no county decision to appeal, the matter automatically advanced to the First District Chairman Clint Day, which his staff and the GA GOP Secretary Michael Welsh acknowledged. Day’s jurisdiction lasts from October 5 to November 18 per State Rules. However, the matter had sat unhandled again for weeks with no communication to the appellants.
So, on October 28, the Chatham First Patriots published a notice signed by three Chatham County Precinct Chairmen requesting a meeting of the District Committee, which is the prescribed body to handle the matter. By the First District Rules, which are a public document, the District Committee consists of District Executives, County Chairmen, State Committeemen, past District Chairmen and State Committeemen, elected public office holder in First District, and pro-rata allocations of voting members from each of the the 17 counties. Theoretically, it is a broad and responsible body for handling GOP business. In this case, it is required by GA GOP Rules that they must meet to handle a formal 8.8b appeal. There is no other option.
The October 28 Notice also included a formal request for the member contact list of the members of the County Committee and District Committee, along with all of the officer contact information. They cited Georgia Code Title 14 law governing the activities of non-profit corporations in the state of Georgia. O.C.G.A. 14-3-1602 & 1603 contain the grounds for the request, which the organization must fulfill within five days. All levels of the GA GOP received this notice by delivery confirmation and failed to comply with these requests. Chairman Day failed to personally respond.
Instead, District Chairman Clint Day directed his Assistant Secretary, Bill Edgy from Glynn County, to send a message to all of the appellants calling a three-person ‘Tribunal Committee’ to handle the matter and then bring it back to him for further processing. Yet, Chairman Day seems to have squandered plenty of time to gain investigative insight into the matter. He has not reached out to the main appellant eye-witnesses for understanding in the over eighty days he has held the appeal in his possession. He also blocked all calls from a main filer, not speaking to them once but allowing his Bible verse voice mail message to play asking them to leave a message. When another main filer politely challenged his exercise of Rules in writing, he chose to not respond back at all.
The notice from Edgy to the appellants provided for 90 minutes of time for only a small group of the Chatham First Patriots to be heard, present their statements, and be investigated by three members of his Executive ‘Tribunal Committee.’ The date and time of the meeting was put forth in Edgy’s notice as non-negotiable. The demand for this forum to proceed was that the Chatham Firsties provide a conference room reservation to the ‘Tribunal Committee’ or else forfeit their chance to ‘be heard.’
Except, this is not a legal path at all for handling a GOP appeal. The appeal must be heard before the entire District Committee. However, we have written evidence that on November 5 that the District Chairman sent a written refusal to call this correct committee to handle the appeal. The timeclock for the District Committee to hear and decide the appeal will expire on November 18. The District Committee requires ten days to be called per District Rules, which is a meeting notice standard throughout the Georgia Republican Party. Clearly, it seems First District has missed the window to exercise their District Committee on the process of ethical appeals.
Chatham First Patriots communicated promptly and professionally in the week prior to November 11, according to records. They quickly provided a meeting location, and immediately voiced several concerns with this illegitimate meeting that did not meet the 8.8b standard. On a November 4 phone call, Edgy explained that Chairman Day established the ‘Tribunal Committee’ after a call with State Chairman David Shafer. He also noted a consultation with State Parliamentarian, John White. However, no matter what concerns and Rules considerations the Chatham Firsties offered, Chairman Day held fast to his improper resolution plan, seemingly disrespect of GRP member rights. And, Edgy complied and continued leading the ‘Tribunal’ towards the November 11 meeting in Savannah.
At 5pm, three Chatham First Patriots appeared at the meeting, held at a Marriott hotel private conference room. They provided the three members of the traveling ‘Tribunal’ with folders, copies of all materials, and water bottles. Purposefully, the meeting lasted less than seven minutes per a briefly published record of the event. The Chatham First Patriots simply refused to engage the corrupt process by pouring out their appeal concerns to only three people, referring repeatedly to the Rules.
One of the most abominable facts of this ‘Tribunal’ was that it was authoritatively forced to be held on VETERANS DAY. Many of the Chatham First Patriots are U.S. Veterans, and some spent the day representing their service heritage at schools and recognition events. That very morning, Savannah hosted one of the largest and longest-running Veterans Day parades in the state, and thousands attended.
Still, they prepared for and attended this event by the GOP out of duty to their country and with a desire to apply accountability to the Georgia Republican Party, which must be organized to win elections. Sacrificially, these citizens put everything aside to prepare for this illegitimate GOP meeting.
Furthermore, they claim to also have record of several clear warnings to the First District of these issues, but received no reply based in party governing Rules. Even a few days prior to the meeting, they sent a note to Edgy reminding him that the meeting was pointless and that they felt ‘bad’ that they were coming to Savannah for this. Ironically, his committee also consisted of District Rules Chairwoman Ruby Robinson, along with a political newcomer, Vice Chairman Danny Bartlett. Robinson came with a brand-new copy of the State Rules, while the Chatham First Patriots had a copy of all levels of governing documents in a binder that looked like it had gone through a war.
In person, the Chatham First Patriots expressed their ‘grave offense’ that the GOP, in a district containing the illustrious Third Infantry Division, 7th U.S. Cavalry, 3rd Aviation Regiment, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, 75th Ranger Battalion, 224th Military Intelligence, 603rd Aviation Support, Submarine Group 10, numerous National Guard assets, and countless historical military units would mislead such a blatant affront to the honorable activities reserved for the Veterans Day federal holiday. They stated that even restaurants across from the hotel, where the meeting was held, were offering free dining to Veterans at the very time of this attempt to circumvent State GOP Rules. To these concerns, Ruby Robinson quickly said “That is irrelevant! That is irrelevant!”
Chatham First Patriots also provided an additional ‘special letter’ to the members of this ‘Tribunal,’ whose hearing and consideration was not requested or needed whatsoever. Only the entire District Committee would have met the hearing and decision requirement. This ‘special letter’ petitioned further action and repeated their previous appeal requests.
The First District GOP is out of time and out of line, Congressman Buddy Carter.