Selma back in court

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 15, 2004

A motion filed on Tuesday by attorneys for the City of Selma requests that U.S. Senior District Judge Brevard Hand re-examine his decision to deny Selma costs and fees in the Friends of Forrest lawsuit.

Attorney Bill Gamble, along with attorney Valerie Chittom of Gamble Gamble Calame & Chittom, filed the 27-page motion, which asks Hand to reconsider his recent decision.

Hand had announced he wouldn’t make a ruling on a motion from Gamble requesting that the Friends of Forrest pay the city’s legal fees.

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The City of Selma has spent more than $100,000 in the suit involving a monument to Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Council President George Evans said that he felt a majority of the council wanted the issue to end.

Councilwoman Nancy Sewell commended Gamble and Chittom’s action.

Sewell noted that Tuesday was the deadline for filing the motion. &uot;If they didn’t file it on Tuesday, and the council had wanted it filed, they couldn’t have,&uot; she added.

Chittom contacted attorneys Charles Yow and Thomas McAlpine, who represent the Friends of Forrest, by fax on April 7.

An April 12 fax from Chittom to Yow and McAlpine reiterated Tuesday’s deadline.

An April 12 fax from McAlpine states that the Friends of Forrest would not compensate Selma for legal fees unless the city did the same for it. Gamble’s reply to McAlpine states that Selma wouldn’t give any compensation.

Gamble referred all comments to Chittom on Wednesday. Chittom couldn’t be reached for comment and hadn’t returned the STJ’s calls.

According to Williamson, the Friends of Forrest wanted each side to pay their own legal expenses, which is what Hand’s March order states.

Gamble’s Tuesday motion stems from different settlements offered by the Friends of Forrest’s lawyers. Gamble states in his motion that he and Yow reached an agreement about the case; however, McAlpine brought a different settlement agreement.

The Friends of Forrest suit stems from a vote of the council on Feb. 26, 2001, to move a monument of Forrest from the Vaughan-Smitherman Museum to Confederate Circle at Old Live Oak cemetery.

Protesters opposed the monument after its installation at the museum in 2000, which led Mayor James Perkins Jr. to suggest covering the statue. No action was taken.

On Jan. 15, 2001, during a parade in commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr., a rope was placed around the monument’s head and several people pulled until the rope broke.