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East Point City Manager says it was "fully worthwhile" to cut utilities to mother, infant daughter | News

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East Point City Manager says it was "fully worthwhile" to cut utilities to mother, infant daughter

EAST POINT, Ga.-- On a 94 degree day in July, the city of East Point cut off power and water to the home of Shannan Scott and her then-four-week-old daughter Cheyenne. Scott and her husband rent the home -- and says they had no clue they were losing their utilities until after it happened.

The Scotts hadn't lost their utilities because they'd failed to pay their bills. Instead, they got caught in what their landlord says was a huge misunderstanding by the city, as previously reported by 11 Alive News.

But city manager Crandall Jones says the city didn't jump the gun by forcing out the Scotts.  He says the landlord, Atlanta Outreach Project Inc., is at fault.

"If it's a woman with a four (week) old baby, she shouldn't have been placed in a property," Jones said, "that was an unsafe property in the first place."

The city manager says it started when an inspector noticed something unusual in the electrical hookup on the property.  The city concluded that the hookup was illegal and the electricity was being stolen.

The property owner, Russell Moolman, admits the hookup wasn't right. But he says city workers did it.

Jones denies that.

"The city did not hook that meter up, did not rig that power. There wasn't a meter there," Jones said.

Q: You're sure about that?

A: I'm sure about that.

Q: Would it have been worthwhile to fully investigate that before turning the power off and putting those folks out?

A:  Again, the structure was unsafe. It was fully worthwhile to remove people from an unsafe structure.

Q: But you didn't have anyplace to put them, right?

A:  Well, it wasn't our place to put them anywhere.   It was our place to make sure they were not in that structure.

Jones says the illegal electricity hookup, among other things, made the home unsafe. Jones also claims the owner was illegally creating a group home for transitional homeless people, something the landlord also denies.

Jones:  From every definition that we have of a group home, according to city ordinance, it's a group home.

Q:  Basically they say, A- it's not a group home and B- the illegal power hookup was done by the city.

A: Absolutely not.  Absolutely not. There's no reason the city would do an illegal power hookup.

Q: If the facts are this much in dispute, does it make sense to explore them before going through the process of cutting off electricity?

A:  The facts weren't in dispute when we cut off the power.

Q:  So the city has no responsibility to at least make sure the occupants can at least go someplace before they cut off the power?

A:  Well, we don't have the responsibility.  But we've taken on the responsibility plenty of other times helping that.

 Jones says the city routinely gives advance notice when cutting off utilities to multi-family dwellings or group homes.  Jones says East Point followed its own rules by cutting off utilities to Shannan Scott and her daughter, unannounced. Scott and the property owner would like to see those rules change.









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