A nonprofit that has accused Sandy Springs of unfairly targeting it with citations is getting close to lawsuit settlement with the city ahead of an upcoming court hearing, the founder says.
The nonprofit, Mary Hall Freedom House, has been embroiled in legal challenges brought by the city for more than a year, alleging it is violating zoning rules by operating a drug treatment facility in condos it purchased in 2017. MHFH last year sued the city, alleging it is trying to push out minorities and disabled people.
The founder and CEO of MHFH, Lucy Hall, said the nonprofit and city are close to coming to an agreement that will settle the citations and lawsuit.
“I wish we could have done this two years ago,” Hall said, sounding optimistic the agreement would be reached and end the legal battles. Hall did not provide details on what the stipulations of that agreement could be.
A city spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.
Hall said she hopes the agreement will be reached before the next scheduled Municipal Court hearing on April 9.
Supporters had also planned an April 15 protest outside of City Hall, but Hall said she does not think it will be necessary because the legal issues should be resolved.
“I’m sure that we won’t have to do that,” she said.
Supporters of MHFH, including some top local religious leaders, demonstrated at a recent City Council meeting, wearing orange T-shirts that said “We Are ‘You People’,” referencing a statement a top city official is alleged to have said. Some local church leaders and other supporters gathered in February for a prayer vigil.
The nonprofit’s previous strategies to fight the city’s legal challenges have included enlisting a public relations firm that brought in former Atlanta Mayor, U.S. Representative and U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young. It also launched a website, which appears to have been deactivated, directly targeting Mayor Rusty Paul called “ShameOnRustyPaul.com.”