Heated exchanges and jabs, Alderman Thomas censured

SAVANNAH, Ga. – There was high drama at a special meeting of the Savannah city council that ended with the public reprimand of Alderman Tony Thomas.

Mayor Eddie DeLoach called the meeting to vote on censuring Thomas after he made derogatory remarks to a reporter over the weekend.

She was questioning Thomas about the reported foreclosure of his home and animal control’s concern for the cats living inside.

He told WSAV Wednesday those foreclosure proceedings are not underway. Councilors voted unanimously for the censure.

“Mr. Thomas, nobody’s buying what you’re selling,” Julian Miller, the District 4 Alderman, said. “Look around you. Your actions were despicable.”

“What he said that day to the reporter was wrong,” Van Johnson, the District 1 Alderman, added. “Absolutely unequivocally it was wrong. Dead wrong.”

“We’re talking about a set of standards that people can identify with and people can look up to,” DeLoach said. “This is not hey I’m sorry it’s over and get over it. You don’t get over it like that.”

Councilors removed two items from the censure resolution before they voted.

One involved Thomas’ refusal to apologize to the reporter, because he made that apology during the meeting.

The other talked about his actions on St. Patrick’s Day when he drank too much and passed out in public.

As Thomas attempted to defend himself he blasted other city leaders for what he said are their shortcomings.

DeLoach began with his original statement he made Tuesday. A motion was on the floor and the discussion was open.

Thomas did issue his apology to the reporter, but that’s not where it ended.

“To the young lady I do apologize,” Thomas said.

The apology about the vulgar language Thomas used toward a reporter was made before his colleagues voted to censure him.

But, Thomas didn’t stop there. He made jabs at fellow council members. First, he talked about St. Patrick’s Day when he was caught on camera passed out.

“Drinking with me after that parade were two of the members that are sitting up here on this council: Julian Miller and Brian Foster,” Thomas said.

“I was never in the Hilton,” Brian Foster, Alderman At-Large, responded. “That is totally fabricated.”

“The fact that I had a drink with you, yet you don’t even know how you got into the Hilton that day,” Miller, added. “I took you to the Hilton to get you off the street because I was embarrassed to be seen out there with you.”

Thomas then brought up an alleged scandal about Alderwoman Carol Bell involving controversy over a scholarship at Shaw University.

“Someone called your house, a reporter, for a reply and you hung up on them or a female hung up on them,” Thomas said.

Then he took a swing at the mayor.

“You are on tape saying that you are not going to follow the city charter,” Thomas said. “You’ve already demonstrated that with these meetings and lack of true transparency.”

Thomas even accused the mayor of conspiring against him because of the incident with animal control and the reporter over the weekend.

Thomas: “If you (DeLoach) knew about this meeting on Saturday I want to know who you were informed by.”
DeLoach: “It doesn’t matter.”
Thomas: “It does.”
DeLoach: “That’s not the issue.”
Thomas: “It shows that you’re being conspiratorial.”
DeLoach: “Alright.”

Thomas spoke about what he thought of the meeting afterwards.

“It doesn’t mean a thing,” Thomas said.

And added what people in his district may think afterwards.

New 3’s Devin Negrete: “Do you think your constituents will support you after this? After all the drama and after the set pattern that you have?”
Thomas: “Yea my set patterns…You know I like it that some of you consider yourselves to be psychology majors that can make determinations like that. I think you need to really go and find a professional that can come in and analyze something like that and say here is the real pattern and stuff.”
New 3’s Devin Negrete: “I was just quoting what the Mayor said.”
DeLoach: “This is an obvious pattern of behavior that he will go forward, be completely rude and obnoxious.”
Thomas: “The mayor’s a landscaper. The mayor cuts grass for a living. I mean, I don’t think he has any kind of ability to discuss what a set pattern is unless he’s talking about lawn care.”

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