Folly's mayor Pro Tem files suit against council

FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCIV) -- The man members of the Folly Beach City Council have considered removing from office on at least two occasions has filed suit against the governing body.

Eddie Ellis filed a cease and desist order against the City of Folly Beach and members of the council to stop their repeated ouster attempts. A measure is set to be discussed Tuesday night censuring Ellis and removing him from office. This is the second time the measure has been added to the agenda.

The first time council was set to discuss and vote on Ellis' removal, the agenda topic was scrubbed and the two sides said they were going to sort out their differences outside of the council chamber.

"It's disheartening to me that Americans go put their life on the line in foreign wars and here in America, the government is basically perverting peoples' right to freedom of speech," Ellis said. The bottom line here is that I've been victimized by the government and they are trying to quiet my political expression because I have a dissenting view."

According to the lawsuit, Ellis claims the council is trying to remove him because he is fighting the rest of the body on several issues, including the push to retire the City Administrator.

The agenda item to remove Ellis cites misconduct, but does not detail the questionable behavior.

The lawsuit says Ellis has been accused of being rude to "various people on the street and made telephone calls at late hours."

Ellis said he is outspoken and some people don't like it.

"Out of ten years, they finally to decide to censure me and discipline me for actions and behaviors I do all the time," he said.

"I haven't committed a crime," he added. "And it's just another indication of their kangaroo court."

According to an affidavit from Dale Stuckey, another council member, alleges Ellis called him at 1:44 a.m. on June 27 to tell Stuckey that he had disgusted Ellis twice and that "he wished I would go back to wherever it is that I came from."

A day earlier, council member Ken Hickman alleged Ellis confronted him and his wife at a party and made derogatory remarks about another man. Hickman's wife said Ellis threatened her 69-year-old husband in another affidavit.

According to councilman Pennell Clamp's affidavit, after the June 25 council meeting, Ellis drove the parking lot screaming obscenities where a police officer and a tourist with young children could hear. Later that night, Clamp alleges, Ellis called him twice, screaming expletives.

"Mr. Ellis will be rational one moment and will be upset and visibly angry and as well as threatening the next," councilman Tom Scruggs said in his affidavit.

There are other affidavits on Ellis' behavior from Scruggs' wife, Sandspur editor Susan Breslin, Paul and Debbie Hume, and former mayor LaVern James.

Ellis also accuses the other members of the council of meeting in secret to draw up a resolution to depose him.

"Ultimately, I would like to be able to bring this matter in front of a jury and have them rule on it," he said.