Several weeks ago, Atlanta City Council candidate Andre Dickens launched an attack website against 12-year Post 3 At-Large incumbent H. Lamar Willis. Now someone's fired back with a new website attacking his character: dirtydeaconandredickens.com
The anonymous site calls out Dickens, an Underwood Hills resident who became an ordained deacon in 2007, for what it considers a hypocritical campaign. And it also attacks the Georgia Tech staffer for his more than $1 million business bankruptcy, "support" for Cheshire Bridge strip clubs, and allegedly campaigning while on the job at the state school, among other things. (It's worth noting that the site erroneously says Dickens told CL that he'd like to allow bars to stay open until 4 a.m. The candidate made those comments to Atlanta Progressive News.)
While Willis' name doesn't appear on the website (the domain registration information is also private), the councilman has made similar arguments on the campaign trail against Dickens and former Mayor Shirley Franklin, the challenger's most prominent backer. Last week, Franklin and former Council President Cathy Woolard publicly endorsed Dickens - and made a few jabs for his recent disbarment and for starting a fake charity.
Dickens spokeswoman Lalohni Campbell thinks that Willis is behind the site and says his false claims are a ploy to steer voters away from his own misdeeds, which were highlighted on lamarwillisshakedowns.com.
"While we've never seen anybody attacked for being an active member of his church and a deacon, once again Mr. Willis' desperate behavior has proven he will do anything to take the focus off his disbarment for stealing money from a child," Campbell tells CL. "The claims are untrue, which may explain why he hasn't taken 'credit' for spreading these lies and his use of the church and women is downright distasteful and degrading. We will not be distracted by false allegations and will continue to focus on making Atlanta better by advocating for integrity and good government."
With two weeks left until Election Day, both candidates are jockeying for the Post 3 At-Large Seat. And it'll likely devolve even further until the voting booths close. Hold on tight!
UPDATE, 4:00 P.M.: Councilman Willis tells CL that his campaign wasn't behind the anonymous site. Moreover, he notes that Dickens' campaign has spread information about him. He says that has erroneously distracted from his public record and the real discourse that should be taking place leading up to the election.
"It's much more salacious and sensational to cover everything else but [my public record]," Willis tells CL. "While [readers] have a right to the info you've provided, they have a right to other information about the issues. They're not getting that."
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