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Legal battle with racial overtones heats up in City of Gallaway

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Two white city officials said a black man who was elected to one of three commission seats should not have been allowed to run because of a so-called address dispute.

After a lawsuit had been filed against the newly elected commissioner, the judge blocked all of the people listed in the case from conducting city business while the matter was being sorted out.

However, citizens told WREG that the men who filed the lawsuit are continuing to do city business.

Jamie Mayo showed WREG his apartment in the back of an old storefront in Gallaway, Tennessee.

"Then they want to know if the lights on," Mayo said.

While he said he owns property in Eads and Memphis, he claimed to mostly live at the Gallaway address because of work.

"My clothes are here. I live here," he explained.

However, two incumbent city commissioners named Dennis Timbes and Jimmy McCulley said Mayo is not telling the truth.

The duo filed a lawsuit against Mayo, the Fayette County Election Commission, and several others after claiming Mayo was not properly vetted before the election.

"I ran. I won. And there wasn't a problem while I was running," Mayo told WREG.

Mayo is one of the first black people to run and win a city commission seat.

His supporters said the backlash is blatant racism.

"This is more of a black and white issue than anything," one man said.

The judge over the case issued a temporary restraining order to prevent the two elected candidates from being sworn into office while the matter is sorted out.

"The only person that's supposed to be seated at this time is Mr. Simpson," Dominick Berretta said.

However, Charlie "Bill" Simpson and several residents claimed Timbes and McCully are still conducting city business as normal

People who live in Gallaway told WREG the two men passed a resolution to use city funds to pay for the city lawyer and lawsuit.

"The paper right here says Dennis Timbes and Jimmy Mccully vs. the Fayette county election commission," Simpson said. "It doesn't say anything about being Galloway on here."

WREG tried to talk to the city manager who said she is under a gag order and could not speak on the record.

A phone call was also made to the city attorney's office, but our attempts were unsuccessful.

The next board of commissioners meeting is scheduled for Thursday at 6:30 p.m.