One setback was a Dec. 21 ruling by U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg, who ordered Marietta attorney Chuck Clay dropped from Jaraysi’s lawsuit against the city due to the statute of limitations.
Jaraysi filed suit against the city and Clay on Sept. 24 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.
One of Clay’s firms, Brock Clay Government Affairs, has represented the Parkway Center buildings adjacent to Jaraysi’s Nazareth Plaza strip mall.
Jaraysi accused Clay of trying to buy his property in 2005 and, after being turned down, threatening to “acquire the property one way or another,” that “nobody says no to him,” that “Mr. Jaraysi would be sorry” and that “he previously (was) the head of the ‘commission’ and a senatorial candidate.”
Clay, a former Cobb County commissioner, state senator and Georgia Republican Party chairman, rejects the accusations as false.
“All this has been alleged long after the statute would have run on it, but I’m certainly relieved, obviously,” Clay said. “I don’t like to be spending money of my own at a certain point if I don’t have to, so I would like to think I’m going to be eternally optimistic this would be the end.”
Clay said he found it “somewhat ironic” that despite the lawsuit, he’s never had a conversation with Jaraysi.
“I don’t want to get in the facts of the case, but I don’t want folks assuming that somehow either I’m out there acting unprofessionally or even as a major participant,” Clay said. “I’ve never had a conversation, I’ve never communicated with or had a conversation with or discussed any matter with Mr. Jaraysi or any of his attorneys for that matter. I think (former Brock Clay Government Affairs employee) Brian Noyes may have had just some innocuous sort of email conversation with Marietta, but not with him, about the status or the zoning or that type of thing, but the whole thing’s always a little bit escaped me. Am I relieved that at least at this point the matter’s been dismissed? Yes. And I hope the city will join shortly thereafter.”
Upon learning that Clay had been dropped from the suit, Jaraysi told the Journal on Monday, “Well, it’s not fair, of course, but I need to talk to my attorney and see if there’s any other alternatives to get him back, because he played a big role with city officials.”
Jaraysi insisted Clay was responsible for stopping his wedding hall from being built. In response to Clay’s denial of the claims, Jaraysi said, “I understand, but that’s not true, though. He did, of course, and he made a threat, and he talked more than what he is, but he had great influence on everybody in the city of Marietta.”
Jaraysi turned to federal court after striking out in his lawsuit against the city in Cobb Superior Court, the Georgia Court of Appeals and the Georgia Supreme Court. It is the case that went through those three courts, first heard by Cobb Superior Court Judge Adele Grubbs, which proved to be the second setback for Jaraysi this month.
On Nov. 7, Grubbs ordered Jaraysi and one of his attorneys, Richard Capriola, to pay attorney fees to the city in the amounts of $37,500 and $10,000, respectively. Capriola paid the city the amount he was ordered, but Jaraysi appealed the order to the Georgia Court of Appeals.
The appeals court on Friday denied Jaraysi’s request.
City attorney Doug Haynie said the city will allow “a short period of time” for Jaraysi to voluntarily pay the judgment before the city proceeds towards collecting the amount.
“The judgment has been recorded on the deed records of Cobb County and will apply to all real estate owned by Mr. Jaraysi’s corporations, including the property on Commerce Avenue,” Haynie said. “We have conducted a title search, and there are no loans against the property so one might predict that Mr. Jaraysi would pay the judgment rather than have the property foreclosed by the city. The city would also be authorized to use collection methods against other properties such as bank accounts, automobiles, etc. Hopefully, this will not be necessary.”