George: I'm staying
County Commissioner Stacy Lee George is vowing to remain at his post, even as the controversy over his impending divorce swirls around him.
George's wife, Stephanie,was granted an order of protection from abuse last week, claiming George had threatened to kill her and himself. Following the order, Sheriff John McBride revoked George's pistol permit, a move the sheriff said is common after restraining orders are issued.
George denies harassing his wife.
Following the order, George announced he was temporarily leaving the county and would be accompanied at all times by a private investigator he hired to prove he was not harassing his wife.
The private investigator, along with George's mother and father, were with him Friday at the county courthouse when the commission's only Republican spoke out against what he said was a plot by the "political machine" to remove him.
"I've gotten lots of criticism from different areas," George said. "People want to bash me."
George – who wore a sticker bearing the slogan "vote Stacy George in 2004 – said he would remain at his post, though he had earlier considered resigning.
"I stay on with this so I could save (Republican gubernatorial nominee) Bob Riley's campaign," George said. "On Wednesday, I planned on resigning but I didn't want to hurt my party."
If George resigned today, Gov. Don Siegelman, a Democrat, would appoint his replacement.
George vented most of his anger towards McBride, District Attorney Bob Burrell, Circuit Clerk John Pat Orr and Commission Chairman Larry Bennich.
"When you have four people working against you, it's a political machine," George said. "People have been after me since I've been in office."
Among George's claims is he is being followed by Morgan County deputies.
"I've been chased for 3,000 miles in the last week by deputies from the Morgan County Sheriff's Department," George said. "The sheriff was appointed by the crony – (Gov.) Don Siegelman – and I thought he was my friend. I was wrong."
McBride said deputies are not following George.
"It's an outright lie," he said. "Nobody is chasing him. Nobody is following him."
McBride said George could be arrested if he violates the order of protection.
George also lashed out at Carrie Spurling, chairperson of the board of registrars and one of about 50 bystanders at the press conference. Spurling laughed out loud during the press conference.
George told Spurling, who is in a wheelchair, he "didn't feel sorry for her." Spurling responded, saying she thought George shouldn't be using his father, who is also in a wheelchair, for sympathy at the press conference.
"Then I ought to wheel you up here and use you then," George said.
That exchange prompted McBridge to call a halt to the press conference.
Bennich said George shouldn't be taking up the county's time with his personal problems.
"This needs to come to an end. We're not here for Republicans or Democrats, we're here for Morgan County. All he's (George) doing is blaming everybody else. We haven't got time for this," Bennich said.
George said the divorce will be final on June 12. His wife earlier said she was filing for divorce because she did not like being involved in politics.
"I don't know what happened after that," an emotional George said. "She just turned sour on me."