Alderman Tony Thomas responds to WTOC investigation at town hall - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Alderman Tony Thomas responds to WTOC investigation at town hall meeting

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

One of your aldermen is gathering a lot of unwanted attention lately.

6th District Alderman Tony Thomas has been dogged by accusations of sexual assault, and providing minors alcohol and drugs for years.

But since his November re-election, Thomas has been the focus of a scathing series of social media videos and a Savannah City Council that's been making important decisions without his input. The latest was on the city-county law enforcement merger. 

There was also a silent protest involving his own constituents during the last city council meeting.

Tuesday night, WTOC aired a three-month investigation into the allegations against Alderman Thomas on the same night he was holding his quarterly town hall meeting at the Crusader Community Center. 

WTOC was at that meeting, hoping to get reaction to all the controversy swirling around Alderman Thomas. 

When trying to ask Thomas about the investigation aired Tuesday, he refused to comment and he hardly spoke to us at all. But this is what he did say:

"The way I look at it…” Thomas was asked.

"I don't care how you look at it,” he replied.

"I understand that. What I want to do is give you a fair opportunity here, because…” Thomas was asked.

"No, you didn't. You didn't want to give me a fair opportunity. You are vetting a story and I'm going to let y'all do that, and then a fair opportunity will come at a later date,” he replied.  

Beyond that Thomas wouldn't say anything else to us, but Tuesday’s town hall meeting carried on as usual.

As is usually the case with his meetings, a number of residents showed up to discuss concerns from crime and property maintenance to the Coffee Bluff sidewalk project. But toward the end of the meeting, several protestors showed up and silently took their seats. Some wore t-shirts you may recognize from last week's demonstration at City Hall.

"I'm a survivor. It happened to me, and I know a predator when I see one,” said Maria Burns, protestor.

Burns is a survivor of sexual abuse and was one of the protestors donning the t-shirt. She told WTOC her heart goes out to the alleged victims that have come out against Thomas, but that WTOC's investigation into the alderman didn't surprise her.

"It's about time, and it's not going to stop, and there will be more to come,” said Burns.

"You're saying this is just the tip of an iceberg?" Burns was asked.

It would have to be. I have worked for the Rape Crisis Center, I know statistics, and these young men that came forward cannot and will not be the only ones,” she replied.

Despite the allegations, a number of Thomas's constituents say he has done a lot for their district. One couple was surprised to hear of the recent accusations against their alderman.

"It's very difficult to believe any of those things,” said Laura Kinzie, Rose Dhu resident. “Well, he's just such a nice person. I've seen him in restaurants and so forth and he seems like a perfectly normal person that leads a normal life."

"I mean, if he's done something illegal, that will come out, and he'll have to pay for whatever he's done that's illegal. But just upsetting a few people and some accusations that can't be substantiated... that's their problem,” said John Kinzie, Rose Dhu resident.

I made one last attempt to talk to Thomas after Tuesday's meeting, but my questions went ignored.

"Don't speak to him, he's insignificant..." said Thomas, while he was leaving the town hall meeting.

Thomas will hold another town hall meeting Wednesday at the Windsor Forest Golden Age Center at 6 p.m.

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