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Prospective city commission candidate denied entrance to City Hall to file qualifying paperwork

Tayari Appiah

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

Tayari “Tigh” Appiah is filing a lawsuit against the City of Gainesville and at least 5 other defendants after he was denied entrance to City Hall on the morning of January 29 to file qualifying paperwork for a city commission seat.

According to the prospective candidate, he arrived at City Hall at 9:30 a.m. Friday morning, having set up his campaign bank account. The next step was to file the paperwork to challenge Gail Johnson for the At-Large seat on the Gainesville City Commission.

However, City Hall was locked, and it took some time to catch the attention of a security guard. Appiah asked the guard whether City Hall was open. The answer was, “It depends,” and Appiah explained that he was there to file the qualifying paperwork. The security guard told him that he should come back between noon and 5. Appiah said that qualifying ended at noon, but the answer was still that he should come back between noon and 5.

When Appiah returned at 1:00, he was told that he had missed the deadline. He spent some time talking to City staff, but left with the issue unresolved.

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Appiah has hired attorney Raemi Eagle-Glenn, and she went to City Hall today to try to resolve the issue but was also denied access. She said the security guard pointed to a sign saying City Hall is open Monday-Friday, 8-5, but he wouldn’t let her in, instead pointing to a phone number she could call.

Appiah also went back today, and the security guard pointed to the sign instead of letting him in.

Appiah, a nurse who is an Air Force veteran, said, “I want to get on the ballot to run against incumbent Gail Johnson. I’m quite disheartened that I wasn’t allowed entry by the security officers at City Hall. I hope the City will do the right thing and redress this grievance, since I was there on time and was prevented from qualifying by the actions of their contracted security guards.”

Eagle-Glenn said, “Political underdogs are tired of being pushed around in this town. There comes a day when a simple ‘sorry’ is not good enough. We are taking action. The better part of me hopes this was not intentional. We will use the discovery process to leave no stone unturned. Let Tigh Qualify.”

In response to a request for comment from City Clerk Omichele Gainey (who is in charge of handling the qualifying paperwork), we received the following response from Shelby Taylor, the City of Gainesville Director of Communications: “The City of Gainesville is aware of the affidavit and will respond promptly if a formal complaint is filed. “

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