In the past week WTVY News has fueled what has been a full blown smear campaign of newly elected 30-year-old city councilman John Whitehurst of Ashford, AL.
We spoke with council man Whitehurst and he says that he has spoken to Ken Curtis and he has spoken to Rickey Stokes to no avail.
We asked the councilman what exactly has he told Ken Curtis and Rickey Stokes and the councilman stated,
“#1. I informed them that the city of Ashford has been negligent, irresponsible, and wreckless with the statement that WTVY released when apparently the city said that they would be looking into whether or not it was legal for me to serve. What the city should have been saying is simply a layout of these facts:
A. Councilman Whitehurst has been open, honest, and maintained his integrity from the beginning.
B. Councilman Whitehurst has sat down with the city clerk Amy Brunson in her office on several occasions making sure that everything in his campaign was done within the ramifications of the law concerning the section under which he qualified and ran for office.
C. Councilmember Whitehurst joined Amy Brunson at the beginning of the campaign to make phone calls to the judge of probate, to the Alabama League of Municipalities, and also to contact a network of city clerks from across the state who also have dealt with candidates running under this section of the law and/or councilmembers such as a mayor in Tiffany, AL who used this very same law just because he decided he wanted to build himself a new house, and he would be living outside of the city limits for a while until he was able to move into the new house that he wanted to build and continue to serve as the mayor.
Finally the city should have been saying councilmember Whitehurst qualified, he gained ballot access, he has won this election, and he has done everything in his power to give us ample opportunities to make sure he was in the ramification of the law even though the law states that the mayor and the city clerk has no legal authority to qualify or disqualify a candidate.”
#2. What I told Rickey Stokes and Ken Curtis is that they need to quit validating this story and they need to put a end to this smear campaign. I told them that Richard Bolden my defeated opponent is not relevant at this time and that this is not an attack from him on me this is an attack on the votes of the citizens of Ashford, this is a contest of the vote. I also informed them that in order for Bolden to contest this vote successfully the Alabama Supreme Court has already said that he would have to show that I benefitted from illegal votes and as a result I was elected and I informed Mr. Curtis and Mr. Stokes that that’s just not the case and so this is not a story they need to just go away. At most its a witch hunt, a smear campaign, and has turned into defamation of character.
#3. I told Mr. Stokes and Mr.Curtis that this has never been about my qualifications, this has never been about my residency status I made sure that that was taken care of from the beginning. After gaining ballot access, after qualifying to be on the ballot, after the citizens came and cast their vote this is about contest. They both should go look at the law and see exactly what it says and they should move on from here.
When Rickey Stokes continued to press and say that he was concerned about me being a dishonest politician and Ken Curtis continued to press as well both of them and I quote said to me “I don’t care who the councilmember of Ashford is I don’t care who the Mayor of Ashford is,” at which point in time I questioned their patriotism because they ought to care about the vote that the people cast instead of just reaching for this smear campaign, trying to create a story where there is no story.
I still know that we ran a clean campaign and maintained our integrity from the beginning and that we were in the ramification of the law. If in fact we were doing anything illegal by now we would have now already been disqualified, we would not have been able to qualify, and we would have been denied ballot access.”
Now that the citizens have cast their vote this is now a questions of contest and I don’t believe that the challengers have a leg to stand on and what I want to do now is begin focus on the concerns of the citizens of Ashford I would like to begin to call attention to their issues and begin to go to work for them.”
The councilman also added, “No one from my office has any reason at all to imply that they are Amy Brunson the city clerk. We simply released a statement from my PR Assistant via facebook and SMS message after we were contacted by Sharifa Jackson and I instructed a team member to follow up with her and make sure she did in fact receive our statement. The reporter stated she did receive the statement from Dontavious Wade PR Assistant and she did not inquire further as to who she was speaking with. At the beginning of the call the team member told the reporter that she was calling from Councilman Whitehurst’s office. The reporter text us and told us to also contact a second reporter Ken Curtis. If WTVY knows this was a call from my office and have spoken with me on this phone repeatedly why would they think for 1 second that Amy Brunson the Ashford, AL city clerk would be calling from my number at all. The statement made by the city clerk was wreckless, it is gross negligence, and it is uncalled for.”
Councilman Whitehurst legal team is considering slander, libel, and defamation lawsuits. We will continue to follow this story.