“The cronyism in the city of Smyrna will continue,” Kirkendoll said. “It is unfortunate for the citizens and taxpayers. Smyrna spent countless dollars trying to fight me instead of just doing the right thing. The right thing would have been to admit they conspired to silence me.”
The lawsuit alleged that the city violated Kirkendoll’s First and Fourth Amendment rights in 2009 when she was arrested at a town hall meeting after the then-52-year-old uttered an expletive. The city’s insurer, Georgia Interlocal Risk Management Agency, paid the settlement.
She said she was ready for her day in court to fight, among other allegations, a police statement alleging she was under the influence of alcohol.
“Unfortunately, after three long years, the attorneys decided the fate, not me,” she said.
Kirkendoll said she does not believe her legal victory has effected any change in how the city conducts business.
“The mayor, the officers and several city workers got off scot-free and would be willing to abuse another citizen’s rights, if they felt the citizen was a ‘hindrance,’” she said. “It should send chills though the spines of all Smyrna citizens.”
While Kirkendoll would not say how much she got from the settlement — attorneys generally collect half in lieu of billable hours and expenses — she said it does not improve her quality of life.
“I have lost much more on my Smyrna Heights house than what I received after the attorney was paid,” she said. “The amount I got after attorney and taxes is insignificant, really. If I could get any money out of my house, I would move. I would sure put the money toward moving. But until something changes around here, I’ve lost a good 25 to 35 percent of my house value and would be foolish to give my house away.”
While the settlement, which was announced Oct. 10, does not bar Kirkendoll from attending and speaking at City Council meetings and town halls, she said she would only go “if my camera is turned on and recording.”
Counts wrote in the lawsuit Kirkendoll has been actively speaking out on topics like immigration, criminal activity, home prices, quality of life issues and redevelopment.
“Kirkendoll has fervently sought to expose what she perceives to be corruption within the city and to heighten public awareness of what she believes is the city’s failure to address or remedy important social issues,” Counts said.
Smyrna city officials declined to comment for this report.