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Former Airport GM’s Lawyers: Mayor’s Comments Are Slanderous

Lawyers for the former General Manager of Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport have called the mayor's statements ''slanderous.''
Lawyers for the former General Manager of Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport have called the mayor's statements ''slanderous.''
Credit Patrick Semansky / Associated Press
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Lawyers for the former General Manager of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport are accusing Atlanta’s mayor of slander.

Miguel Southwell, the former general manager, and Mayor Kasim Reed have been trading barbs publicly for a week now.

A week after his firing last month, Southwell’s attorneys sent the city a list of grievances, saying they intended to file a wrongful termination lawsuit.

That letter included allegations that the mayor and his staff tried to influence airport concession contracts.

Reed reacted strongly on Thursday, saying Southwell was lucky the mayor hadn’t yet destroyed his career.

“If he continues down this path, I’m going to make public why he was fired. And he knows that not only could I have fired him, I could have pressed charges against him,” Reed told WSB-TV.

Reed did not give more detail, and now Southwell’s lawyers say he should either say what he means or retract it within seven days.

“You are well aware that Mr. Southwell has not committed a crime, nor has he done anything that would justify termination for cause in Atlanta, Miami or anywhere else,” their letter to the mayor reads. “As you have said many times, you are not afraid of litigation, so go ahead and make known your alleged reason for firing Mr. Southwell and we will let a jury judge your credibility.”

The mayor’s office says Reed’s comments from yesterday still stand.

You can read the whole letter below.

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