Former Midway City Council Candidate Files Election Lawsuit

By: Lanetra Bennett
July 26, 2013

Midway, FL - A representative for Samuel Stevens says Stevens has filed a lawsuit against Midway City Councilman Charles Willis.

Back in April, a judge ordered Willis' name off of the election ballot because Willis did not live in his district. However, the election was still held and Willis beat Stevens in the District 4 race.

Stevens' lawsuit is to get Willis out of office.

Eyewitness News was not able to get comment from either party.

By: Lanetra Bennett
July 10, 2013

Midway, FL - The Midway Election saga continues.

Back in April, a judge ordered Charles Willis' name off the city commission election ballot because Willis did not live in his district.

Today (Wednesday, 7-10), the judge said the ruling was moot because the city held the election anyway in May.

Willis beat Samuel Stevens in the District 4 race.

A representative for Stevens says the judge advised Stevens to refile the complaint, which he says he intends to do.

By: Lanetra Bennett
April 25, 2013

Midway, FL -The City of Midway filed an appeal to a judge's order to remove Charles Willis from the city council election ballot. This means that Circuit Court Judge James Shelfer no longer has jurisdiction over the matter during the appeals process.

Last Friday, Judge Shelfer had ordered Willis' name off the ballot because he says there was "overwhelming evidence" that Willis does not live in the district he serves.

Yesterday (Wednesday,) the judge ordered the council members to come to court today to explain why they didn't take Willis off of the ballot.

Attorneys for the city announced during today's contempt hearing that they had filed an appeal. Therefore, the hearing could not proceed.

Willis' only opponent on the ballot for district 4, Samuel Stevens, looked disappointed. He likened the situation to a suspect being arrested, but being let go because an appeal was filed by the time the suspect made it to the jail.

The order still stands, therefore, the issue will have to come back before the circuit court once the appeals process is complete.

The election is April 30th. Therefore, it will go on as planned, with Willis on the ballet.

Midway residents say they'd asked the council not to spend money on outside counsel for this case. They were upset to learn in today's hearing, that the city did hire an outside attorney.

By: Lanetra Bennett
April 24, 2013

Midway, FL - A judge has ordered members of the Midway City Council to explain why they are not obeying orders.

Last week, Judge James Shelfer ruled that Midway City Councilman Charles Willis be taken off the upcoming election ballot because Willis doesn't live in the district he represents.

However, the council voted four-to-three last night to keep Willis on.

The judge is now ordering Council members to appear in court to explain why they should not be held in contempt for not obeying his ruling.

Concerned Midway resident Leslie Steele says, "These are the things that have been going on in Midway for far too long. It is time to get some change on this board. It's sad that we have to go through the judicial system for the citizens of Midway to be treated equally and fairly."

Eyewitness News reached out to the interim city manager, but, no one has responded to our message.

The contempt hearing is Thursday. The election is April 30th.

By: Lanetra Bennett
April 19, 2013

Midway, FL - The election for Midway City Council is down to one race.

Former Midway Manager Auburn Ford filed a complaint that Mayor Pro Tem Charles Willis should not be allowed to keep his seat on the city council, because he doesn't live in the district he serves.

A circuit court judge ruled Friday morning that Willis' residence at the Ochlockonee Pointe Apartments is outside of District 4.

Willis will be taken off of the upcoming election ballot.

Ford says, "I think it's the right decision. We live by rules and laws in this country. The basic rules when it comes to voting is people need to represent where they live and Mr. Willis does not. He could've had plenty opportunity to move back in his district and he failed to do so."

Eyewitness News tried to speak with Willis on the issue, but no one answered the door at his home.

The district 4 seat will now automatically go to Samuel Stevens, and the remaining race is between incumbent Ella Barber and Eria Monroe Caesar.

The election is April 30th.

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