Lary’s declaration came a day after he expressed the same sentiments to Jackson during the April 3 Lithonia city council meeting. Lary, whose management firm manages the events at the Lithonia Amphitheater, accused Jackson of conspiring with State Rep. Doreen Carter to work against Stonecrest.
“I cannot turn my back, trying to run a new city, and then turn around when I know you’re conspiring to try to do anything you can to stop us legislatively,” Lary said at the meeting. “We can’t sit next to each other. I don’t know what else I have to do to prove where I am. Don’t call me, I won’t call you—because I’m done with you on this. You are untrustworthy, mayor, period.
“You all can keep Deborah Jackson like she is,” Lary said to residents before leaving the meeting.
Jackson said she has not been involved with any legislation relating to Stonecrest.
“I’m not sure who he is getting his information from,” Jackson said. “I think that it’s just unfortunate that his first act as a fully elected official is coming into a public meeting and make unfounded accusations.”
During the legislative session, legislation was introduced that Stonecrest officials said would have dramatically impacted the city during its startup stages. House Bill 600 was sponsored by Carter and other representatives from DeKalb County. The bill would have revised the city’s voting districts, provided term limits for the mayor and more restrictions. The bill died during the session.
Lary said his issues with Jackson are not about the bill.
“My point to her last night was that I know that [Carter and Jackson] have been trying to [override] the city of Stonecrest with annexation even after we’ve been approved,” Lary said. “I feel that there is no legislative interest for doing Stonecrest any good with Doreen Carter or Deborah Jackson. So, there is no use in me trying to partner with a city that is not trying to corroborate.”
Lary said he has tried to work with Jackson in the past on ways to market Lithonia.
“I have tried for a decade to work with her and it’s always been something,” he said. “I spent independent money getting [Lithonia] off the ground and all mayor Jackson did was interfere with it the whole time I had the contract. So why would I then turn around, after we’ve done so much work to get Stonecrest off the ground, and trust a partnership while she’s in office. It’s not going to happen.”
Jackson said she thinks Lary fails to understand the process of how to do things in a city
“While he may have ideas, so does other people,” she said. “My responsibility is to protect the interest of the city as I see it. He has some interesting ideas. My recommendation to him was we needed to go through a process to do those things and not just demand that things happen and people get out the way. That’s not how government works.
“I think his display last night was a clear indication of his failure to understand how government works,” Jackson added.
In February, Lithonia considered entering into an agreement with Lary for his management firm to manage events at Lithonia Park. However, the council voted to release a Request for Proposals (RFPs) that would allow other firms to submit bids on the management of the park. Lary took exception then to the council’s decision.
“I put the park piece together, they go out and they actually took my idea and then put it out for a RFP for somebody else,” he said.
Several council members said they would rather go through the RFP process than adopt an ordinance to appoint Lary’s management firm because it would appear to show favoritism to Lary.
Lary said he will end his management of the amphitheater this summer after he completes the events he is contracted to manage.
“I have an obligation to the people that I have signed agreements with to manage the events this summer,” he said. “But after that, that’s it.”
Jackson said she hopes the leaders of both cities can come together.
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