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Hearing date set for appeal on elections board decision

POSTED: May 8, 2014 9:13 p.m.

An Ogeechee Judicial Circuit judge will hear an appeal filed on the Effingham County Board of Elections’ dismissal of a challenge to county Commissioner Vera Jones’ candidacy.

The hearing is set for May 15 at 1 p.m. before Judge Gates Peed.

The elections board voted 3-1 last month to dismiss a challenge to Jones’ candidacy. Andrew Brantley, who filed the challenge, also filed the appeal two weeks ago in Effingham County Superior Court.

The appeal claims Jones’ motion to dismiss was filed “untimely, meritless and did not address the issues raised by the Challenger before the board.”

Brantley’s original complaint alleged that Jones retained more than $700,000 in county money that was not hers. Jones was issued a check for $739,844.86, after she provided an invoice to the county for work her and her husband’s company did to extend water and sewer lines to one of their developments.

Jones has contended that the county promised to get that work done but then could not fulfill its end, leaving her development in the lurch. It led to her company completing the work in order for the homes to have water and sewer service to go with their certificates of occupancy.

Brantley countered that commissioners never approved a check to Jones and she did not comply with repeated requests to return the money. Having the money and not returning constitutes a violation in Jones’ candidate application where she claimed she was not holding public funds in violation of state laws, his complaint alleged.

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