Savannah Alderwoman Gibson-Carter violated ethics code, board unanimously rules

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Savannah Alderwoman Kesha Gibson-Carter is a step closer to a possible censure by city council.

After more than six hours of testimony Thursday, Savannah’s three-member ethics committee unanimously ruled that the at-large alderwoman violated the City’s ethics ordinance.

That includes a new accusation that Gibson-Carter physically attacked Alderwoman Linda Wilder-Bryan.

The ethics hearing included just some of the 30 witnesses called, mostly by Gibson-Carter. The most prominent witnesses were Savannah Police Chief Roy Minter as well as Mayor Van Johnson, who testified that the alderwoman did use profanity during the Aug. 26 executive session discussing hiring a new city manager.

The mayor said that much like the hearing, Gibson-Carter’s outbursts were disruptive to City business.

“Her profanity was more ‘eff this, eff the process, this is effed up.’ I don’t think it was toward a particular person, but it was definitely profanity which was inappropriate for the session,” said Johnson.

“Attorney Steinmetz, will you ask the mayor why I used profanity toward this process?” Gibson-Carter asked.

“Ma’am I can’t ask the mayor to speculate on why you did anything,” the attorney responded.

Johnson also spoke about an event on March 12 at his office, when Gibson-Carter allegedly struck Wilder-Bryan with her purse, and allegedly verbally assaulted her.

During her closing statement Thursday, Gibson-Carter lashed out at the council members in attendance, Detric Leggett and Nick Palumbo, as well as Wilder-Bryan.

“You have a person of poor moral character who will steal from a jewelry store. Why do we expect her to come in here and tell the truth today?” Gibson-Carter said. “You have another person in her sidekick, who follows along with any and everything she says.

“And then you have the great leader here who orchestrates it all in tandem with our mayor. You all should be ashamed.”

Gibson-Carter has not admitted any guilt. Much of her defense centered around what happens in council executive session being private, not to be discussed publicly according to state law.

The ethics board and city attorney said it was OK to discuss someone’s actions in those meetings, but not the context.

It’s now up to the mayor and city council to decide whether they will act on the board’s recommendation and publicly censure the alderwoman.

News 3 did try to speak with Gibson-Carter about the decision, but she again refused to speak with reporters.

“I just want you to know that I am good,” the alderwoman told supporters in a Facebook Live.

“And I’m going to keep telling the unadulterated truth. I’m going to keep speaking truth to power,” she added. “I’m going to keep calling out unethical behavior.”

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