Complaint: Georgia rep. does not live in place he represents

March 27, 2020 GMT

DECATUR, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia lawmaker does not live in the district he represents, a complaint filed in the state said.

The complaint filed this week accuses State Rep. Vernon Jones of living in Atlanta while representing Lithonia, a town 19 miles (31 kilometers) east of the city, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Jones, a Democrat, has represented the district since 2016.

He has denied all allegations, and called the complaint “baseless and without merit.”


Attorneys representing Lithonia resident Faye Coffield said Jones sold his interest in a Lithonia property, where he is registered to vote, 19 years ago. They are seeking to remove his name from ballots before the primary election for his seat in May.

According to the complaint, a cell phone and hard line phone associated with Jones are registered at a home in Atlanta.

Carey Miller, one of the attorneys in the complaint, said there was no “ax to grind.”

But with Georgia state law requiring candidates live within the area they seek to represent one year prior to their election, “the requirement of residency has to mean something,” Miller added. He’s asked for an expedited hearing.

Jones had served in the state legislature from 1993 to 2001 before he unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House and a county sheriff seat.

He served two controversial terms as chief executive in DeKalb County before returning to the state capitol four years ago. He was criticized by his own party this month after a transgender city councilwoman said Jones made transphobic remarks during a heated conversation.

Jones has just one challenger for the District 91 seat, Conyers resident Rhonda Taylor, a Democrat. No Republican candidates qualified.