Attorneys go head to head in first hearing in lawsuit against Diyonne McGraw
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - A formal injunction was filed against Alachua County School Board member Diyonne McGraw, insisting she not be allowed to vote on future matters and Monday attorney’s went head to head on the matter.
Attorney Jeff Childers also asked that the court file a vacancy for the District 2 seat that McGraw is currently in, after it was found that she was elected in the wrong district as she currently resides in District 4.
Attorney Childers represented McGraw’s opponent Khanh-Lien Banko and several others in the lawsuit and said that even when a swing vote is needed, McGraw shouldn’t be able to weigh in.
“Only the very most controversial votes where Mrs. McGraw would be the swing vote will not be able to be taken and your honor the school board shouldn’t be taking those kinds of votes right now anyway with this issue hanging over the board,” Childers said.
McGraw’s attorney, Richard Keith Alan said the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Office allowed her to run for the seat and she is not at fault.
“The court will learn that information was provided to Mrs. McGraw, specific statements by the number two person at the Supervisor of Elections which basically indicated that she was in District 2,” Alan said.
In a cease and desist sent to the school board, Childers also mentioned McGraw’s prior votes be thrown out but did not move forward on that yet.
Childer’s asked that the school board voting privileges be taken from McGraw until there is a further investigation.
“Your honor, we are not asking this court to remove Mrs. McGraw,” Childers said. The statute, the constitution and the school board policy provide that when there is a vacancy the governor will replace the incumbent, so all we need the court to do is to declare that there is a vacancy.”
Alan also said unless McGraw is replaced, she should still have the right to vote.
“When you have this residency issue, until the person is actually replaced they are de facto in that seat and can act validly,” Alan said.
The Supervisor’s of Election’s attorney did not have comment during the hearing. The election canvassing board has not been subpoenaed yet.
Judge Donna Keim did not rule on Monday but hopes to have an answer by Tuesday.
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