Former mayoral candidate Olivia Ware drops lawsuit against city of Conyers

Olivia Ware ‘humbly apologizes’ for inconvenience

CONYERS — Former mayoral candidate Olivia Ware has dismissed her lawsuit against the city of Conyers and has issued an apology for the inconvenience.

In a letter filed just before 5 p.m. Monday in Rockdale County Superior Court as a dismissal, Ware wrote, “After much consideration and speaking to the (campaign) representative, I withdraw my complaint and candidacy for the office of mayor of the city of Conyers.”

In her dismissal, Ware contends that she did not receive notice of the Sept. 20 administrative hearing until Sept. 23 and that she did not realize that her representative did not “wait to receive hand-delivery notice of hearing after I specifically stated that the representative would be there.”

Even so, Ware wrote, “I am willing withdrawing (sic) my candidacy for the office of mayor of the city of Conyers 2013 General Municipal Election and therefore all leagal (sic) counterclaims or civil complaints shall be dismissed now and furture (sic). I humbly apologize for any inconvenience that it may have cause (sic) the city of Conyers.”

When asked by the Citizen if she would like to comment, Ware said, “No, not really.”

Ware and the city of Conyers have been embroiled in a legal battle since questions were raised about Ware’s legal residency and voter registration status soon after Ware qualified for mayor on Aug. 30.

Ware qualified as a candidate for mayor, using as her address 213 Peaks Landing in Conyers. She stated in the Notice of Candidacy and Affidavit that she has been a legal resident of Rockdale County for two consecutive years and a legal resident of the city of Conyers for one year.

However, based on voter registration records and voting history, Ware listed residing at addresses in both unincorporated Rockdale County and in Newton County within the last year.

On Sept. 9, City Attorney Michael Waldrop sent a certified letter to Ware at all three addresses notifying her that her candidacy was in question and asked her to withdraw by Sept. 12

On Tuesday, Sept. 17, after Ware did not withdraw her candidacy, Patricia Smith, the city’s election superintendent, sent to Ware — at all three addresses — a certified letter notifying her that Smith would hold a hearing at 10 a.m. Sept. 20 to determine whether she was legally qualified to run for the office of mayor in the Nov. 5 election.

Neither Ware nor any representative for Ware appeared at the Sept. 20 hearing.

Ware claimed that she did not receive proper notice of the Sept. 20 administrative hearing. In her Sept. 24 lawsuit against the city, Ware, who was representing herself, requested a jury trial and that she be awarded attorney fees and punitive and compensatory damages for fraud and emotional distress.

In its answer, the city defended the many steps it took to contact Ware, including attempting to hand-deliver the notice of the hearing at the time and place Ware herself requested.

The city had also filed a counterclaim against Ware requesting that Ware be made to reimburse Conyers for attorney fees and costs associated with her candidacy and ensuing lawsuit.

On Friday, Waldrop sent Ware a letter formally asking her to dismiss her lawsuit against the city. If she refused, Waldrop said the city would seek damages, costs and attorney fees under the state’s abusive litigation statute. If, however, Ware should dismiss her complaint, the city would likewise dismiss its counterclaim against her.

The hearing previously scheduled for Wednesday before Superior Court Judge Robert Mumford is likewise cancelled.