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Councilman Dorn crosses the line for the last time

A Column by the Editor
web posted April 10, 2009
COLUMN – Edgefield County Council Chairman Monroe Kneece has allowed, yet again, Councilman Norman Dorn to spew more of his diarrhea of the mouth unchecked during county council meetings. This has been an ongoing problem for several years and Chairman Kneece will not control Mr. Dorn from his vicious, slanderous, demeaning, and libelous attacks of citizens attending the meetings. In fact, the only time Chairman Kneece uses his gavel is when the people attacked rise to defend themselves from Dorn’s attacks. That places the county in a very difficult position.

Councilman Dorn’s most recent attacks at the April 7 meeting are not unusual, and he directed them at no less than three members of the public from the bench without Chairman Kneece intervening until citizens rose in defense of the attacks (a recording of the event can be found here). Chairman Kneece gaveled down the defenders, not Mr. Dorn. A scene that is repeated far too often.

In one of the most notable cases, County Councilman Dorn’s recorded comments at the county council at the July 1, 2008 meeting prompted the Edgefield Police Department to seek a warrant for his arrest on a criminal charge of slander after a copy of a recording of the meeting was turned over to police.

In the recording Mr. Dorn calls the Editor of EdgefieldDaily.com, “by name”, “points him out”, and “tells people to look at him” and Mr. Dorn is heard saying the editor was a liar and "a crook", an accompanying police report states. The affidavit filed by police sought the arrest warrant for the criminal charge of slander based on Mr. Dorn's recorded comments Edgefield Police Chief Ronnie Carter said when the affidavit was issued.

The case was turned over to SLED but was later dismissed by the Solicitor’s Office due to the criminal charge being overturned to civil remedies. EdgefieldDaily.com’s editor refrained from filing charges at the time.

A county employee was also confirmed as reporting that Dorn made intimidating remarks to her prior to his re-election in 2008. Administrator John Pettigrew confirmed the employee made comments to the administrative staff but later stated that they were not made as an "official complaint" and the matter was never investigated further.

County Councilman Dorn has continued his verbal assaults unabated as the scene played out again at the April 7, 2009, meeting when Dorn accused the county council of being a “hanging jury” for removing Rev. J. R. Hooper from the Tax Appeals Board after the revelation he had been indicted by a grand jury for the sexual assault of one of his rental tenants.

Dorn went on to demean me, and when I and another citizen rose to challenge the accusations being made by Dorn, we were gaveled down and not allowed to speak. As always, I was not allowed to defend myself against the statements made on the official record by Mr. Dorn. So I will make them now.

County Councilman Monroe Kneece knows that such outbursts could place the county in a precarious situation if he continually refuses to rein in Councilman Dorn from personal attacks at the meetings and has acknowledged that the outbursts are out of order, yet he refuses to stop them. 

So be it.

If Chairman Kneece can’t stop it, I can, and will with a judge and jury. I relish the opportunity to see Chairman Kneece and Councilman Norman Dorn try to defend the actual recordings of the meetings in question, the statements made (linked above), and the actions taken, all “on the record”.

They’d have a better chance of defending that Lee Harvey Oswald was in the Bahamas when John F. Kennedy was shot.

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