Landscape contractor Billy Durden of Newtown County, Georgia, has launched allegations that officials had conspired so that he’d lose his longtime contract with the county. Durden believes that Chairman Keith Ellis, County Manager John Middleton and Gary Campbell, current landscape contractor, colluded to interfere with his five-year contract renewal. The Newton County Board of Commissioners had voted to approve the renewal last year.
During the vote for his contract renewal, it was brought up that Durden had operated without a business license for a couple of years. The contractor defended himself by saying he was operating out of his home at the time, and didn’t know he needed a business license. Additionally, in some years he did not renew his license until after the first of January. Durden said he thought the deadline was March 15th, as no late penalties are assessed until after that date.
The defendants denied those allegations in court. The lawsuit further accuses the three defendants of making false claims that Durden had raised his prices, billed people for work he had not done and forged work orders. The lawsuit argues that this helped lead to the reversal of his contract extension.
He is seeking a judgment of no less than $1 million.