Lawsuits Fly Around Chatham County Commission

It isn’t a typical day in Georgia without sex and race being brought up regarding an elected official! This time, it’s in Chatham County.

A Chatham County commissioner has filed a lawsuit against a candidate for commission chairman alleging slander, defamation and libel related to statements the candidate made on his election Web site. Commissioner Priscilla Thomas stated in the lawsuit filed Monday that James Dewberry published false statements claiming she had an affair with Joe Murray Rivers, a former commissioner who is serving as interim executive director of Chatham Area Transit.

Source: Savannah Morning News


  1. drjay says:

    i have no idea if the crap dewberry is spewing about these two is true–but i do know he is a horses a&$-and possibly crazy-if i have time later i’ll link to his website and some of his more colorful posts on the forums of the sav’h paper…it’s a little embarassing he qualified as a gop…

  2. dewberry says:


    In this lawsuit the commissioner claims that I have promoted “racial intolerance” through my campaign website

    I was commenting on a no-bid contract that she voted in favor of and exercised my right to free speech. This is called petitioning the government. Sources have indicated an affair between the commissioner and the winner of the no-bid contract and also another sitting commissioner is the cousin to the same person winning the no-bid contract yet each of them voted in favor.

    Nothing on my website does anything that would suggest the promotion of “racial intolerance” and I ask the readers to see for themselves and comment.

    Here is a post I made the news site in reply to this suit.


    Dewberry – Racial Intolerance? I want proof
    I want to personally respond to these claims by Thomas.

    Read the suit here

    While this suit does nothing to indicate exactly what it is Thomas is all upset about, the information referred to in her suit exists here on the messages page. Look for the article titled “When is it fair and lawful and when is it politics as usual”. I have not updated this page since becoming aware of these legal proceedings. The modified dates I can find say that each of the pages of the site were last modified on April 6 of this year.

    I admit I need to update the page to include the understanding I have that James Holmes is the cousin of Joe Murray Rivers as well as other matters.

    This article was not written as a personal attack as has been alleged in Thomas’ lawsuit. This article was written to demonstrate the cronyism and nepotism that exists with the Chatham County Commission. Rivers received an appointment making $40/hour, $1600/week, plus expenses on a no bid contract. That was the only point of the article written. These type contracts and favorable “deals” are not what the county should be engaged in. Rivers has no experience or training to justify this award. I want to see River’s resume and educational background. The county has made no effort in this time to fill this “interim” position and so I hope the readers look at this closely. Read more about this at

    I think what serves as a better example of slander, defamation and libel is the words of Thomas and her attorney(s). I ask the readers, the plaintiff and her attorneys to prove my campaign website does anything that resembles the “promotion of racial intolerance”. Produce anything at all that proves the claims I have done anything to promote racial intolerance.

    It is interesting that on this same page of my website, I talk about the frivolous lawsuits being pursued by the Chatham County Commission. Certainly, this effort by the commissioner against me demonstrates very clearly what a frivolous lawsuit looks like.

    Beyond what has already been stated above, this suit intends to mislead the court by stating I refused service of their original request. I left for Japan early on the morning of April 10 and did not return to the US until Monday, April 28th and arrived in Savannah at 8pm. Further, the filings state that a letter dated April 3 was sent to me when in fact the postmark says that the mail was not metered until April 8th. That is ok. You can indeed author a letter on the 3rd and mail it on the 8th.

    I am curious about Shadavia Scott, the notary public who witnessed the attorney’s signature on the 18th of April. Who does she work for? Where was this document signed? Did the notary actually witness this signature? Just curious if Shadavia Scott works for the county or who exactly.

    I have reason to believe that the commissioner and her attorney(s) knew full well my whereabouts or could very easily had learned of my whereabouts by simply calling my phone number or sending me an email listed very clearly on the same website referenced in the lawsuit. Indeed, I learned about the lawsuit by a posting made to the Savannah Now website. In fact, even though the service of this notice was to my home address, on Friday May 2nd a sheriff hand delivered the suit to my office on the south side of Savannah – a locale not mentioned in the filings at all. My belief is that the plaintiff and attorney(s) knowingly misled the court by suggesting I would not cooperate with their requests which I had no knowledge of. If you think they have this treatment reserved for me alone then talk about the issues and/or run for office yourself.

    I have on more than one occasion emailed communications to the members of the Chatham County Commission and have never received any reply so they want you to believe I would be alone in being stubborn?

    For the record, I have done nothing that has been promoted by Priscilla Thomas. I have not done anything to promote racial intolerance. I have not been stubborn about something I knew nothing of. I have not refused to cooperate. I did not slander, defamation or libel Thomas. I have sources that I have faith and confidence in which claim that Thomas and Rivers engaged in an affair and these sources will be called to testify if this matter goes forward.

    Forthcoming are answers to this lawsuit and ethics charges against the commission for their practice of making political no-bid contract awards to the exclusion of everyone else – acts that go against their own hiring and contracting standards and “best practices”. Further, (for starters) Chatham County is now requested to produce any and ALL documents concerning travel and expense reports for Rivers and Thomas while in the service of the County.

    Kind regards,

    James W. Dewberry

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