McDONOUGH — A Republican state legislative candidate, Dale Rutledge, is fighting back against what he called false accusations.
Rutledge, of McDonough, is seeking the GOP nomination for District 109 in the July 31 primary.
Joanie Scott, an author for the Proof of Right website, recently wrote that Rutledge did not have worker’s compensation coverage for employees. Scott said Rutledge denied an injury claim to his brother, Doug, while he was an officer for the Rover Sanitation, Inc., company.
“According to the Georgia Secretary of State website, Rutledge formed his company, Rover Inc., on Dec. 6, 2001,” Scott wrote. “The company formation documents name three individuals as members of the Board of Directors: Dale Rutledge, Kevin Fisher, and Chuck Farrell. The fact that the company was formed with three officers on the Board of Directors met the criteria which required them to purchase and maintain workers compensation insurance.”
Scott wrote that the Georgia State Workers Compensation Board has no record of Rover, Inc., having paid for worker’s compensation insurance prior to 2004.
“What was on the website was totally false,” countered Rutledge, who sold Rover, Inc., in June 2011. “The company was formed in ’01, and started operation in January of ’02. Starting out, it was three partners — myself, Chuck Farrell and Kevin Fisher. You do not have to have worker’s compensation coverage until you get at least three non-officer employees. And you can elect, as an officer of the company, that you don’t have to cover yourself.”
“My brother claimed to have been injured helping me lay sod in my backyard,” Rutledge added. “He was helping me in my backyard, not working for our company, Rover.”
In addition to the Proof of Right website, another individual who is against Rutledge’s campaign is his older sister, LaWanda Rutledge, of Stockbridge.
“We had to file a petition with the court against my older sister back in ’08, when my mother developed Alzheimer’s [disease],” Dale Rutledge said. “When I was on vacation in ’08, my older sister convinced my mother to move over $200,000 into my sister’s name. When I got back from vacation, I discovered this information, and my younger sister (Rhonda) and I had to petition the court to reverse all of that. The court sided with us, and appointed me as a conservator, and appointed Rhonda as a guardian for my mother. My sister is very bitter over that, and has been very vindictive.”
Dale Rutledge acknowledged that LaWanda previously filed motions against him in the court system, all of which were dismissed.
“I did what anyone would have done to protect their parents,” Dale Rutledge said. “The court agreed with us. I put the final ruling on Facebook. I’m not ashamed of what we did. We did what we had to do to protect our mother.”
Although LaWanda Rutledge does not live in District 109, she recently participated in a robo-call to supporters of her brother’s opponent, Republican incumbent State House Rep. Steve Davis.
“Steve Davis paid for a robo-call that went out from my older sister, telling voters that I was not worthy of being an elected official at the state level, or any level ... and that I tore our family apart through the courts for my own personal financial gain,” Dale Rutledge said.
LaWanda Rutledge said at the time she filed motions against her brother, their mother had not been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but with “tremor-type Parkinson’s Disease.”
“She was prescribed medication which is given to Alzheimer’s patients, but she was not diagnosed with it,” LaWanda Rutledge said.
The sister added that her mother was never diagnosed with Alzheimer’s while in her care, and that she did not attempt to move money from her mother’s account. LaWanda Rutledge said her brother “does not deserve the position” he is seeking.
Dale Rutledge said State Sen. Rick Jeffares spoke to Davis before the call went out, and explained the candidate’s family situation in attempt to convince him not to authorize the robo-call. The senator’s admonition went unheeded by Davis, according to Rutledge.
“He ignored the truth,” said Rutledge. “It’s very hurtful and sad to our family that he would do that.”
Jeffares could not be reached for comment.
Davis acknowledged that he paid for a robo-call to be sent out to voters by LaWanda Rutledge, even though Jeffares advised him against it. Davis emphasized that he did not pay LaWanda Rutledge for the robo-call.
“The robo-call was from his sister, in her voice and in her words and her opinion,” said Davis.
“Sen. Jeffares has tried to work out a truce between the two of us (Davis and Rutledge), because Mr. Rutledge has seen fit to bring family into this issue,” said Davis. “[Jeffares] merely called to tell me that, in his opinion, Dale’s sister was crazy, in an attempt not to get me to do the call.”
Davis criticized Rutledge for trying to “distract” the public instead of discussing topics relevant to the primary.
“Mr. Rutledge has refused every single debate and forum from day one,” said Davis. “He continues to distract voters from issues while running from debates and forums, where we can discuss issues that are important to them.”