13WMAZ reported all week about allegations made from Warner Robins Mayor Randy Toms on Monday and Tuesday about a meeting of some members of council he says may have violated Georgia open meetings law.
Council members involved have said the meeting was not purposely kept a secret and never reached a quorum, meaning it did not have to be disclosed.
Wayne Lowe of Lowe Toyota reached out to WMAZ after it was reported the meeting was held at his business in the Spring of 2016.
He says he wanted to defend his name and his business.
Lowe says he wants to set the record straight about allegations made that his business hosted an illegal meeting last year.
“We don't participate in that kind of deal. We operate with the upmost integrity here. We've tried to earn that over the past 20 years that we've been in business,” Lowe said in his office Friday.
He says he was at the meeting, which was called by council member and former Mayor Chuck Shaheen.
Lowe says it was not a secret meeting to decide city business.
“Absolutely not. There were three council people involved but also there were 17 other people in the room. So, it was not a clandestine type meeting that is being portrayed in the Council chambers,” Lowe said.
Lowe says his business lets civic, government, and non-profit groups use meeting space upstairs. He said attendees have to walk through the showroom and the meeting room has a glass wall, so it's not a secret location.
And, he says the meeting was to ask other Georgia officials about industrial development.
“It was just how they attracted industry into their areas. What they did to do that and how they want about it. You're always on the learning curve in industrial development,” Lowe told WMAZ.
Lowe says there were never more than three council members in the room because Councilman Chuck Shaheen left when Clifford Holmes arrived and didn't come back until after he was gone.
That means there was never a quorum of the council, which would have required public notice about the meeting beforehand.
"You know when somebody attacks your business, or your name, you want to clear it up. And what was portrayed at the meeting Monday night was we were participating in something wrong and we do not do that," Lowe said.
Lowe also questioned why Toms made the allegation publicly roughly a year and a half after the meeting took place.
Council members Carolyn Robbins, Clifford Holmes, Tim Thomas, and Chuck Shaheen have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
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