ABERDEEN - The City of Aberdeen has been named as a defendant in a second class-action suit in almost a month. The suit, which claims racist tactics and favoritism was also filed against electric department manager Adrian Garth, Ward 1 Alderman Alonzo Sykes, Ward 2 Alderman Cloyd Garth and former Ward 3 Alderman Willie Cook as individuals and officials. The suit was filed by Aberdeen resident Viki Mason, Los Angeles resident Billy Brasfield and Shannon resident Cecil Jones.
According to complaint one of the lawsuit, amp"Plaintiffs, as white persons, are required to timely pay their bills in order to obtain utility services. However, the City of Aberdeen, Mississippi and the Defendants, Adrian Garth, Cloyd Garth, Willie Cook and Alonzo Sykes, Sr. arbitrarily discriminate in favor of black persons, and in favor of City of Aberdeen, Mississippi employees, and in favor of residents of Wards 1, 2 and 3, with respect to the payment of bills. Specifically, the individual Defendant Aldermen, and the Defendant Adrian Garth, grant permission for numerous black persons, who are residents of the Defendants' wards, to delay payment of their bills or to fail to pay their bills altogether, without having their electrical services discontinued.amp"
In a second complaint listed in the suit, Jones and Brasfield claim they have received bills for arbitrarily imposed amounts. According to the complaint, Brasfield's electric bills increased between 2008-2009 to more than $800 per month and Jones was billed for increasing usage at his residence during the same period to over $600 per month. After the billing increase, Jones and Brasfield allege despite protesting, they were never given notice of a hearing or a hearing to determine the correctness of the billings and that Adrian Garth does not give citizens the right to a hearing or how to obtain any hearing to protest the amount of the bill.
The first class-action suit against the city and Adrian Garth was in March by Aberdeen residents Bular Daniel and her husband, Essie.
The Daniels' are suing for unlawful donation of public utility services. Their suit also states that favoritism is being shown in who gets their bills extended, including city employees, friends of Garth and amp"political allies of certain aldermen.amp"
Aberdeen Mayor Jim Ballard could not be reached for comment.
In a prior interview with the Monroe Journal, Tupelo Attorney Jim Waide, who is representing the plaintiffs in both suits, said he feels free power may have been given away in exchange for votes in the 2008 municipal elections in Aberdeen.
amp"These suits could have huge ramifications on the electoral process in Aberdeen because it seems that people have been getting free power in exchange for votes.amp" Waide said.
According to Waide, more names are expected to be listed as plaintiffs to the suit and additional lawsuits may be filed in the coming weeks.