Controversial Savannah alderman named in ethics complaint

From the Savannah Morning News:

Two Savannah residents have filed an ethics complaint alleging Alderman Tony Thomas launched an “all-out hate campaign” against them following their support for an opposing city council candidate last year.

The complaint filed Friday by Debra Kujawa and Karen Thompson claims Thomas violated code sections calling for elected officials to be independent, impartial and responsible to the people. The filing further states the alderman’s actions called into question the integrity of the government.

UPDATE: I should add here that Thomas describes the filing as “frivolous” and says the two women have been “harassing” him.

The complaint deals largely with posts about Thompson and Kujawa that Thomas has made on his personal Facebook timeline, but there are other issues too. Again from the SMN:

In addition, the complaint alleges Thomas followed Thompson around and made negative comments about her during a campaign event as she was having a conversation with friends, causing her to leave to avoid further embarrassment.

Thomas is also accused of singling out Thompson, who deals in estate sales and antiquities, on several occasions by finger pointing and laughing at auctions.

The coverage at Connect Savannah contains screencaps of some of the Facebook posts in question and delves into the implications of some of the posts, such as this passage:

The most disturbing of the “Grinch” posts says:

“Ole Debra down at (Rose Dhu) is really getting desperate. This rainy day has her all gloomy… haha. Somebody please go appease her.”

Of that latter post, Kujawa, who runs her own PR firm, says, “In marketing, we say that’s a ‘call to action.’”

As for what “appeases” means, Kujawa’s not sure but asks:

“Is it a sexual reference? Does it mean come have sex with me, or come rape me? Does it mean send someone over to my house to do something violent to me? It’s vague but also clearly threatening.”

Thomas has also been the subject recently of a 5-part video series called “The Troll Chronicles,” which you can see on the Who Is Tony Thomas? website. The accusations against Tony Thomas have in recent years ranged from sexual offenses to more mundane misuse of city fund, but many of those accusations have been anonymous, have conflated crimes with questionable but nevertheless legal conduct, and have been conducted via social media.

If Thomas has done even a tiny fraction of the things of which he has been accused, it’s puzzling that no one has filed criminal charges or filed a massive civil lawsuit.

Thomas, who has over the years been seen by many as an aggressive advocate for Savannah’s southside neighborhoods, easily won reelection to his aldermanic seat in November. He took nearly 59 percent of the vote in the November general election, far outdistancing three challengers, none of whom even got 20 percent.

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