Candidate for south AL probate judge disqualified
BULLOCK CO., AL (WSFA) - It's been said many times that 'all politics is local,' and you can't get any more local than what just happened in Bullock County. The investigation involves the incumbent, who's running for re-election, his challenger, the sheriff and Alabama's secretary of state, who oversees elections.
"Now this is unethical. It's dishonest and illegal," said Bullock County Probate Judge James Tatum.
Tatum and Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill publicly dismissed candidate Justin Faulk from the race for probate judge during a Tuesday morning news conference in front of the Bullock County Courthouse in Union Springs.
"It causes a great deal of concern," Secretary Merrill admitted.
Merrill and Judge Tatum said Faulk failed to fill out and send in the required financial form. Secondly, Faulk delivered a petition with more than 100 signatures, which were allegedly forged. The petition was required since Faulk was running as an independent.
"And it's corruption at the highest and it will not be tolerated," Tatum continued.
Faulk refuted the claims by phone on two counts. He claims he did, in fact, fill out the financial form and mailed it into the probate office and state ethics commission. Tatum said he never received it but also said the probate office was not the place to mail it anyway.
There's been no word yet from the ethics commission office in Montgomery on whether they received the filings.
"And I hate that it didn't make it and I don't know why it didn't," Faulk explained.
In regards to the petition, Faulk said as far he knew, every one of the signatures is valid, not forged by him or his five primary supporters who handled the petition. In fact, Bullock County Sheriff Raymond Rogers told WSFA 12 News that based on his own investigation, the signatures were not forged and that they were all signed by the very people listed on the 18 pages.
"We're good, honest people and I will defend myself because I know I am right and he's wrong," Faulk said.
"It appears that a number of those signatures were penned by the same hand," Merrill contends.
Now, Tatum, who is wrapping up his first 6-year term, is running for re-election with no challengers in November.
Faulk, meantime, is already plotting his next move which he says will be revealed next week.
Faulk is employed by the utilities board in Union Springs.
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