Sunday, November 1, 2009

Mayor LaWayne Harrison - Same Song, Second Verse

In 2008, LaWayne Harrison won his second term as mayor of the small Colbert County town of Leighton with 74% of the vote; however, the landslide victory came in spite of Harrison's record in office, not because of it.

In 2007, employees of the municipality filed an ethics complaint against Harrison. It seems he was selling, or at least attempting to sell, insurance out of his office in the Leighton town hall. At least one employee said he felt obligated to buy from Harrison in order to keep his job. After much rhetoric from Harrison and his attorney Billy Underwood, the Leighton mayor pleaded guilty and paid a $250.00 fine. At that time, a charge of using city funds to pay his wife Anne for volunteer work was dismissed. LaWayne Harrison was obviously a very lucky man--just not one who seems to learn from experience.

Shortly before his re-election, Harrison again created controversy when he failed to follow state bid law and ordered trash receptacles from a company with whom he had long time connections. No charges were filed in this incident, and Harrison once more accused his detractors of attempting to smear his reputation before the election.

The spring of 2009 saw more charges brought against the 72 year-old mayor when three women accused him of requesting sexual favors in lieu of rent (Sex & Lies in Leighton). Eventually all charges of criminal solicitation were dropped, but rumors abounded that Harrison's three accusers had been offered reasonably large sums of money to drop the charges.

Now, two more women have accused Mayor LaWayne Harrison of sexual impropriety, filing charges against him with the EEOC. Leighton employees Amber Watkins and Ariana Mullins say Harrison implied they owed their jobs to him, all the while fondling his crotch. Unless Harrison has an insect infestation in his nether regions, his actions are difficult to defend. Nonetheless, we expect Billy Underwood to again give it the old college try. We also expect the voters of Leighton to send Mayor LaWayne Harrison packing in 2012.

Reminder: Heart's Cry Thrift Store in Elgin is in the process of erecting its annual Angel Tree. Be sure to see Denise Melton to find out how you can help this year.