SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Savannah city politics could be heading to Superior Court of Chatham County. As WTOC reported Friday, Savannah city clerk Dyanne Reese ruled district one city council candidate, Ruel Joyner, ineligible to run after a residency challenge.
Joyner said Friday he would appeal the decision, and Monday we spoke to Joyner who said his lawyer, Mark Tate, is finishing up paperwork to file the appeal to the decision. Reese made her ruling Friday declaring Joyner does not meet the residency requirements of living in the City of Savannah.
In her decision, Reese states Joyner had no proof he lives in an apartment above 24e, his furniture store on Broughton Street. WTOC has been in the apartment, when Joyner showed us the residence when the challenge to his residency was first filed.
Reese stated in the decision the statutes and ordinances for elections and residency say you can have multiple residence, but only one permanent home for election purposes. Joyner says the grounds Reese disqualified him on were not even brought up in the 25 minute hearing a few weeks ago.
Joyner was asked if he ever voted in city elections, which he had not, only in Presidential elections and he voted on Tybee Island. He was also asked where he, his wife and children lived. He stated, in the hearing, they lived equally between his Oatland Island home and his downtown apartment.
"If you were to read this, you would think they come up with all these questions for me and I wasn't able to answer them. I counted 21 items here that they disqualified me for and not one of these questions were asked of me. That's a little unfair," Joyner told WTOC. "I am confident in the process and I feel I will be vindicated in court. Anyone who knows me knows I am a fighter and I am tenacious."
The appeal could be filed as early as Tuesday, well within the 10 day window to appeal the final decision by the city clerk. As of right now, Joyner plans on continuing his campaign but technically, he is no longer a candidate unless the court overturns Reese's decision and re-instates him as a candidate.
Joyner says he hasn't hid anything, answered every question asked of him and even met with Russell Bridges, the Chatham County Board of Elections supervisor, prior to deciding to run for city council.