W. Columbia councilman alleges defamation in lawsuit against may - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

W. Columbia councilman alleges defamation in lawsuit against mayor

West Columbia City Council West Columbia City Council

West Columbia Mayor Joe Owens is being sued by Councilman Boyd Jones for $100,000 in damages in a defamation case.

The lawsuit claims Owens told others Jones was accepting bribes, kick backs, and took money illegally from people so that they could use a park in Jones' district.

In the lawsuit, Jones claims he was embarrassed, humiliated, suffered mentally, and his reputation was damaged.

In a statement, Jones says he hopes the suit causes Owens to "stop and consider the conflict he is causing in our good city."

"The citizens of West Columbia know that I have a reputation for civility," said Jones. "Therefore, I hope they understand that I had no other option but to file this lawsuit against Mayor Owens, with the earnest desire that he will stop the self-aggrandizing actions that appears to be his normal way of acting in the last few months."

Earlier this month, council voted in favor of no longer allowing Mayor Owens to be the presiding officer at meetings.

However, according to a ruling from Attorney General Alan Wilson, West Columbia Council cannot do that.

Councilman Tem Miles says he disagrees with Wilson's decision and believes council has the authority to select a presiding officer.

"I sincerely believe that the changes at issue are for the betterment of our city and will bring greater accountability and transparency to the governmental process," said Miles in a statement.

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