A 19th Judicial District Judge has signed a temporary restraining order, or TRO, against East Baton Rouge Parish’s Mayor Pro Tem Lamont Cole.
The TRO was filed by Andrew Murrell on behalf of his client Gwendolyn Sibley. Sibley alleged in a lawsuit that Cole does not live in District 7, the district he was voted to represent on the East Baton Rouge Metro Council. Due to that suit, Murrell said his client has been “intimated, harassed and stalked” in hopes of getting Sibley to drop her lawsuit.
In the suit, Murrell said that on or about Oct. 22nd, 2021, “…a man identifying himself as Kurt Sharper appeared unannounced at Gwendolyn Sibley’s home, attempting to intimidate and harass Ms. Sibley into dismissing the suit against Lamont Cole. He informed her if Mr. Cole won the lawsuit, ‘he would never help you do anything’.”
The suit went on to read, “On multiple occasions, unidentified parties have contacted the plaintiff and a family member who attempted to intimidate and harass Ms. Sibley into dismissing the suit against Lamont Cole.”
For those reasons, Murrell asked Judge Don Johnson for a TRO, which was signed and granted on Oct. 27. A hearing on the matter is set for Nov. 17th, at which time Judge Johnson would determine whether to issue a protective order.
“It is terrifying to know that some public officials are willing to intimidate and harass private citizens. He is supposed to represent District 7 instead of terrorize its residents,” said Murrell.
Cole responded, “Don’t know the woman. Never met her a day in my life. If I did meet her, I don’t remember it. Never been to her home. If I have been to her home, I don’t remember going and definitely haven’t been in the last four years. I don’t know anything about that.”
The Mayor Pro Tem said all this is political. He added the lawyer representing Sibley is the same lawyer representing St. George and that Cole is a defendant in that case.
“As a matter of fact, I’m sure the people who are behind this know both of us and I’m sure the people who have contacted her and asked her to be a plaintiff in this lawsuit asked her to file a restraining order against me are people who know me or who have met me. But as far as me trying to do anything to get in contact with her, harass her or try to talk to her, ask her to drop the lawsuit, any of those things, I’ve not done that. I’ve not asked her to drop the lawsuit. I didn’t ask the last person to drop the lawsuit. I didn’t ask anybody to do anything because I know the truth,” said Cole.
“He’s trying to distract from the reality that he doesn’t reside in District 7. All he has to do is prove where he lives and he has nothing to worry about,” responded Murrell.
According to numerous court filings, Cole claims he resides at 665 N. 39th St., which is inside of District 7. According to the East Baton Rouge Parish Tax Assessor’s records though, the only address that comes back to Lamont Cole is 438 Bellewood Dr., but he does not file a Homestead Exemption at that property. The Bellewood address is right outside of District 7 while the North 39th St. address is inside of District 7. (pictures below)
Cole added he does 100% live within District 7.
In order to qualify to run for an EBR Metropolitan Councilmember seat, the applicant has to be a resident of the district they are running for and remain a qualified voter and resident of that same district the entire time they’re in office.
According to the EBR City Parish’s own Plan of Government, “If any of them shall cease to possess the qualification above required, as determined by a court of competent jurisdiction, his office shall at once become vacant.”
This is the second lawsuit Murrell has filed alleging Cole lives outside of District 7. In that case in July 2020, Cole provided the court with evidence that his residency was 665 N. 39th St. via a lease agreement, water bill, voter registration and his driver’s license. Judge Trudy White ruled that Stone & Murrell failed to prove Cole did not live outside District 7.
Now, a similar suit has been filed with Sibley as the plaintiff after Murrell said the first plaintiff asked to withdraw her lawsuit. A hearing date has not been set on the Sibley case as of yet.
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