Cherokee Residents Challenge Commissioner-Elect's Eligibility
Brian Poole of Towne Lake is set to take the county commission District 3 seat in January.
A group is calling into question the eligibility of Cherokee County Commissioner-elect Brian Poole.
The group of residents, represented by Canton attorney Jeff Rusbridge, believe Poole is not qualified to assume the seat on Jan. 1, 2013.
Rusbridge on Friday sent the letter to Cherokee County Elections and Voter Registration Supervisor Janet Munda, requesting she schedule a hearing to consider the allegations before the Nov. 6 election.
The residents state Poole has not paid state and local sales taxes in the state of Alabama. Poole allegedly owes $38,599.09 in sales taxes in the neighboring state.
Rusbridge also sent to Munda several documents that appear to be certificates of liens against Poole from the Alabama Department of Revenue, which were filed between 2009 and 2011, and copies of a voluntary bankruptcy filing Poole made in 2010.
“Mr. Poole himself, in sworn statements submitted with his Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition in the Middle District of Alabama, Case No. 10-11227, admitted owing $29,855 in unpaid state and local sales and withholding taxes to the State of Alabama,” the letter reads.
“In Alabama, as in Georgia, sales taxes are charged to the consumer and collected by the selling business on behalf of the state. Ala. Code § 40-23-26. Because these are public funds, it is a crime in Alabama, as it is in Georgia, to willfully fail to pay over sales taxes to the state. Ala. Code § 40-29-111. Due to these facts, it is clear that Mr. Poole, by his own admission, is illegally holding public funds and is therefore ineligible to hold the office he seeks.”
Rusbridge also cited Poole's pending bankruptcy case as proof of Poole's alleged ineligibility to hold office. The attorney notes Poole also owes $9,578 to the Internal Revenue Service for unpaid federal withholding taxes.
Rusbridge on Friday declined to name the residents he's representing.
"I was hired by clients who believe that Mr. Poole’s nonpayment of taxes makes him ineligible to hold office, and who feel that it is inappropriate for someone to serve as county commissioner, governing an approximate $200 million budget, who hasn’t paid state taxes, especially in light of the fact that fiscal management issues have come to the forefront of discussions regarding the county commission of late," he added in an email.
Patch reached out to Poole on Friday to request a comment. However, Poole, funeral home manager at Woodstock Funeral Home, said he wanted to have time to review the allegations before making any comment and scheduled a time late Monday morning to meet with a Patch reporter.
Poole defeated challenger Chris Hampton in the July 31 primary to take over as the District 3 commissioner. Incumbent Karen Bosch decided not to seek re-election and her term expires on Dec. 31. He was endorsed by the Canton Tea Party Patriots, which has been heavily critical of the Cherokee County government and the incumbent county commissioners.
See the attached document to read the full list of allegations against Poole.