Jefferson County Justice of the Peace Lloyd Franklin Jr. has asked a court to halt the planned sale of county owned property that was scheduled to begin today.

A petition filed by Franklin Monday alleges it is being conducted without proper legal authority and names County Judge Gerald Robinson, County Road Superintendent Ricky Bullard, Blackmon Suctions Inc., and Blackmon Auction Manager Billy Hartnedy.

Contacted Tuesday morning, Robinson said he has not been served with any paperwork and had no knowledge of Franklin’s petition.

He went on to say that state statutes give him the authority to sell and dispose of county property, a statement Franklin does not dispute in the court filing. However, Franklin contends that Robinson failed to follow legal and procedural requirements outlined in state law.

Attached to the court filing were notarized statements from County Clerk Shawndra Taggart and County Assessor Gloria Tillman who said they had not received any certified copy of an order suggesting a sale or disposal of county property or an order directing the assessor to determine the fair market value of the property to be sold.

In addition to the lawsuit, Franklin sent a letter to elected officials, other justices of the peace, and copied the letter to members of the media. That letter was critical of the prosecuting attorney’s office which, Franklin said in the letter have “failed in their obligations.”

State law provides that the prosecuting attorney or a deputy shall serve as legal counsel for the quorum court unless county ordinances are in place designating an attorney. That is the case for Jefferson County which has hired Terry Wynne as the county attorney.

In the letter, Franklin said “Despite being tasked with reviewing mattes for potential criminal wrongdoing and making charging decisions, they have neglected to fulfill this critical responsibility.
He went on to say that “In light of this failure, I have assumed the responsibility to seek justice and protect the interests of our community.”

Later in the letter, Franklin said “I implore you, my fellow colleagues to stand alongside me in demanding accountability from our elected officials and holding them to the highest standards of conduct.”