The Troup County Marshall’s Office issued a warning to the husband of a candidate for the County Commission District 3 for illegal dumping of political signs near Gray Hill School Road Thursday.
Bill Gilmore, husband of candidate Ellen Gilmore and chairman of the Troup County Republican Party, reportedly admitted to dumping Congressman Lynn Westmoreland signs in the wooded area, according to the citation. He removed the signs, along with a makeshift animal feeding shelter the following day, the citation said.
Candidate Tripp Foster reported the incident, after he said he and a friend witnessed Gilmore carrying two armloads of signs Wednesday night at around 9:20 p.m. Foster said he was putting up a sign on Bartley Road, when he saw Gilmore go down into the woods.
“Curiousity got the best of me,” Foster said. “We pulled into the darkness of the trees and got out of the truck and locked it. We got near a hill and watched him.”
Foster said Gilmore parked in a hidden area with his headlights facing into an 8-foot opening in the woods.
“He was on a cell phone (and) holding more than 20 signs,” Foster said.
The following morning, sheriff’s deputies met Foster at the location. They found John Pezold, DeeDee Williams, Diane Matthews and Larry Harris signs, along with the two Lynn Westmoreland signs mentioned in the citation, Foster said.
“The Westmoreland signs were underneath the others, wet and rusted,” Foster said. “They had been there a while, but you could tell the others had just been dumped.”
“I didn’t dump any signs there Wednesday night,” Gilmore said. “Tripp Foster is a liar if he said he saw that. All I did was feed my cats that night.”
Gilmore said he has been feeding stray cats at the location for more than four years. He said officers on the scene could not confirm that the cats and Westmoreland signs were on county property.
“I have said the Westmoreland signs were mine. I am supporting him big time,” Gilmore said. “The county cannot say for sure that it was on their property, but I removed it all anyway.”
A warning was issued versus a ticket at the discretion of the code enforcement officer, Troup County Marshall Chief Lonza Edmondson said.
Gilmore is not being investigated for the theft of the signs.
“I’ve got a problem with this,” Foster said. “This was deliberate and done in the cover of darkness.”
The Sheriff’s Office determined it was an illegal dumping case and turned it over to the Marshall’s office Thursday.