Before the Carbon Hill City Council meeting Tuesday night, two council members were discussing Mayor James “Pee Wee” Richardson’s bond order.
Richardson, 61, was arrested Sept. 19, 2013, on four counts of first-degree sexual abuse, four counts of custodial sexual misconduct, two counts of harassment and one count of soliciting prostitution. He was released Friday, Sept. 27, after posting a $250,000 property bond.
According to District 2 council member Jack Dunn and mayor pro tem James “Jimbo” Bray Jr., Richardson is in violation of his bond agreement.
The last condition listed on Richardson’s bond agreement states, “The Defendant is ordered not to meddle with city business or law enforcement and to interact with the City Attorney or Council to conduct any business.” Since his release in September, Richardson has attended and presided over four city council meetings.
Dunn, who was added to the council in October shortly after Richardson’s arrest, said, “Ever since I’ve been a councilman, and like I said, this is a bond agreement set by the judge that he is supposed to abide by. And, it’s not right for him to even be up here, and he shouldn’t be up here until after all of this is cleared; either he’s found innocent or guilty. He should not meddle in city business like the bond hearing states, and that’s it.”
Richardson argued that, “I’m doing exactly what the judge told me to do in the courtroom, hold my council meetings and hold them the way I’ve always done, and that’s what I’m doing. If the judge has got a different order, he needs to give them to us. ... [Judge Doug Farris] told me what to do and even gave me permission to put an office up right over here.”
When asked that even though it is stated in his bond agreement that he is ordered “not to meddle” with city business, law enforcement and to “interact” with the city’s attorney or the council to conduct any city business, Richardson said Farris didn’t say that.
“No ma’am. This contradicts itself right here,” Richardson said pointing to another condition in his bond agreement. “No. 6, ‘the official business of said defendant is to be conducted in an office outside the City Hall of Carbon Hill, Ala.’ ... but ma’am, I’m doing exactly what they told me, and I don’t feel like I’m in violation. As a matter of fact, if I was, I called the attorney [Richardson’s attorney, Ken Guin] today, and they told me again what the judge said.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Guin commented on his client’s situation saying, “No, absolutely not. He’s not breaking it. None of those council members that are saying this happened to be in Judge Farris’ court when the conditions to his bond were set.
“It was clearly and absolutely understood at that time that the mayor would continue presiding at the council meetings. In fact, it was discussed that he would move his office to the building where the meetings are held, and those things were discussed in conjunction with one another,” Guin continued. “So, I know the phrasing and the order that they kind of keep going back to, but I know what’s been said up to that point, and it actually talks about the mayor in the order working with members of the city council. It talks about him having an office in another part of the city, and so he’s definitely keeping the terms and conditions of the bond agreement.”