‘Corruption at city hall’ Campaign flier takes aim at Van Johnson

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A political flier has raised new questions and concerns for some ahead of the Savannah mayoral election.

From Mayor Eddie DeLoach’s campaign, the flier takes aim at one of three of his challengers: 1st District Alderman Van Johnson.

Both Johnson and former Mayor of Savannah Edna Jackson say DeLoach is using a false claim to sway voters in the eleventh hour.

“It blames me as mayor pro-tem for corruption at city hall,” said Johnson, who served in the position from 2012 to 2015.

“Certainly I’ve never been involved in any corruption and certainly during the time that was stipulated there was no corruption in city hall that he’s talking about,” the candidate said, adding, “That’s part of the fantasies of Eddie DeLoach.

News 3 did reach out to the DeLoach campaign — and to the mayor directly — with specific questions, but our on-camera interview was called off.

We received a written statement from the campaign manager instead, which simply describes the DeLoach administration in glowing terms: 

Through historic investment in our neighborhoods, families, and children – Mayor DeLoach has moved Savannah forward over the last four years by every metric for every resident. With lower homicide rates, lower poverty rates, and lower unemployment rates just to name a few – our communities are seeing significant growth. We’re proud that we can run our campaign on a record of real results, but we’re even more proud of the positive change families across every corner of the City of Savannah are experiencing.”

It offers no specifics to support the allegations of corruption. 

Jackson, who was mayor from 2012 to 2016, calls it a slap in the face. She says there’s a reason DeLoach ducked the question.

“Anything that happened at city hall, I was responsible for, and there was no corruption!” she said. “To tell you the truth there was a lot of growth.”

Johnson says Savannah’s voters won’t be swayed by falsehoods or the money backing the incumbent.

“I think he’s going to find out in a very, very big way that you can have, raise all the money in the world, but in the end, integrity is what counts,” Johnson said. “Every Savannahian has the opportunity to vote and they will vote their conscience, not vote money.”

When News 3 spoke with DeLoach about the flier, directly, over the phone, he seemed very willing to talk initially. But the mayor did say he was “not familiar” with the campaign mailing.

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