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Attorneys Of Firm Representing Stockbridge Face Complaint

A referendum on forming Eagle's Landing is scheduled for Nov. 6.
A referendum on forming Eagle's Landing is scheduled for Nov. 6.
Credit Ross Terrell / WABE
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The former mayor of Stockbridge, Lee Stuart, has filed a complaint with the State Bar of Georgia against two attorneys with the firm Smith Welch Webb & White LLC.

The charge against the two attorneys is conflict of interest because they were pushing for the creation of the city of Eagle’s Landing, while the city of Stockbridge had hired another attorney in their law firm, Buddy Welch, to represent the city.

Both lawyers are in the Legislature and work at the same law firm. State Rep. Andy Welch and state Sen. Brian Strickland pushed a law that would take parts of the city of Stockbridge and create a new city of Eagle’s Landing.

The city of Stockbridge hired a lawyer from that same firm. Stockbridge City Attorney Michael Williams said Buddy Welch was hired to assist the city in its negotiations with Henry County on its service delivery strategy and police services agreement. He was the city’s primary attorney at the time.

 Eagle's Landing is the latest community in Georgia looking to become its own city. Currently, the area is part of the city of Stockbridge and unincorporated Henry County.
Eagle’s Landing is the latest community in Georgia looking to become its own city. Currently, the area is part of the city of Stockbridge and unincorporated Henry County.

“The relationship with the firm ended in late February after I spoke with Buddy Welch about the matter,” Williams said. “I told him the city would not be using his services going forward.”

Buddy Welch died on March 23. The Butts County coroner recently ruled it a suicide.

“While their firm was representing the city, [Andy Welch and Strickland] were working on legislation which would severely hurt the city,” Williams said. “So presumably, that’s the conflict. I guess we’ll see what the state bar says.”

Williams said the city plans to file a federal lawsuit soon in an attempt to stop a referendum to create the city of Eagle’s Landing within the city of Stockbridge from moving forward.

That vote, which currently is only open to people who live in the proposed new city limits of Eagle’s Landing, is set for Nov. 6.