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Reverend says clergy signatures on Brookhaven annexation petition are ‘fraudulent’

Annexation, new cities Brookhaven Trending

Reverend says clergy signatures on Brookhaven annexation petition are ‘fraudulent’

A map of the area proposed to be annexed into the city of Brookhaven. Photo obtained via Commissioner Ted Terry's Facebook page.

Brookhaven, GA — The Rev. Canon Angela Shepherd, senior pastor at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church on LaVista Road, confirmed to Decaturish that leadership at the church did not sign a document supporting a petition for Toco Hills and Merry Hills to be annexed into Brookhaven.

A notarized affidavit purportedly including the signatures of Rev. Alex Sherril and Rev. Shirley Porter was submitted along with hundreds of other affidavits supporting the petition. Howard Ginsburg, who lives in the Toco Hills neighborhood, is the petitioner.

The Brookhaven city council held a public hearing about the annexation on June 28, following a community meeting held by DeKalb County officials on June 27. At the meeting on June 28, several of the affidavits accompanying the petition were called into question by members of the public, including the one associated with St. Bartholomew’s.

“I’ve been in touch with some parishioners who attended the meeting that night and the one prior, and the affidavit that has some signatures on it from my colleagues at the church is indeed fraudulent,” Shepherd said.

Barry Bynum, a resident, raised questions about the affidavit bearing the names of two St. Bartholomew’s clergy on Wednesday, saying that the church was officially neutral on the annexation, and he was surprised to see it on a list of property owners supporting it.

Bynum also questioned how someone could notarize the two signatures of clergy who are never in the church office at the same time.

Shepherd said that canvassers collecting signatures for the annexation petition never contacted the church.

“We got a letter from an attorney’s office a couple of weeks ago saying that they had secured the signatures. That’s the first I heard of it,” said Shepherd.

When contacted for comment by Decaturish, petitioner Ginsburg sounded surprised.

“I will bring that to the attention of the appropriate personnel,” Ginsburg said. Ginsburg declined to say who that would be.

Shepherd said that both she and the other St. Bartholomew’s clergy would be pursuing the matter further.

“The clergy whose names are on the document are going to contact the county attorney to let DeKalb know that the affidavit is not correct,” Shepherd said.

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