Editor's Note: Since this report was published, Patch received the audio referenced below. You can listen to it here.
Powder Springs Mayor Pat Vaughn has been cleared by police of an alleged assault after a woman said the mayor hit her with a door knob as she was shutting a door.
The mayor called the complaint “fabricated.”
“It is unfortunate that a person may simply make a complaint without any basis whatsoever, but that is what happened in this instance,” Vaughn said. “I wish the best for this troubled young woman, but I hope she will think twice before making such an unfounded claim again.”
The complainant, 43-year-old Leesa Jean Raaum, said that, at the advice of her attorney, she couldn't immediately comment but would soon.
Raaum made the complaint to Powder Springs police on April 1, 12 days after the alleged incident on March 20. Raaum told police she was hesitant because of Vaughn’s position with the city and with Country Walk, the subdivision they both live in.
Vaughn’s property management business, Neighborhood Management Services, manages the neighborhood.
At the advice of her attorney, Raaum filed a police report, records show. Powder Springs police passed the case along to Cobb police because it involved a city employee—just as they did with the investigation into the Brice Wilson traffic stop, Chief Charlie Sewell said.
“It takes out the … perceived conflict of interest,” Sewell told Patch. “We have a very good working relationship with Cobb County, and if we need to contact Cobb County or any other agency to assist us with something like that, we would certainly do so.”
Cobb police Detective C.R. Twiggs handled the case.
Raaum went to the Neighborhood Management Services office on the Town Square about 2:30 p.m. on March 20 to pay a homeowner’s association bill and to discuss association matters with Vaughn, according to Cobb police records.
Also at the office was an employee of Vaughn’s business, Diane Macavage, and two members of County Walk’s Board of Directors, Ann Taylor and Billie Williams. The board members later told police they were present because of past experiences with Raaum, whose visit was expected.
Macavage told police that Raaum “was the reason that they kept their office door locked,” records say.
After giving Macavage a check, Raaum told police she began discussing a letter she received about a missing key. Vaughn then came out to discuss the matter.
Raaum said Vaughn attempted to get her to come into her office to talk, but she didn’t want to without her husband present. Vaughn then called Taylor and Williams into the room, Raaum said.
“The conversations between Ms. Raaum and Ms. Vaughn became heated, and Ms. Vaughn told Ms. Raaum that she would never be allowed back into the office again,” according to Raaum’s initial report with police. “Ms. Vaughn then forced Ms. Raaum out of the office by pushing her with her hand; as Ms. Raaum was walking out of the office, Ms. Vaughn slammed the office door behind Ms. Raaum, striking her in the back.”
Attached is a picture Raaum gave to police of the bruise that was allegedly caused by the door.
Raaum also made an audio recording of the incident with her cell phone. Through Georgia open records, Patch received a CD from Cobb police of the recording, but the file couldn’t be played. Patch will publish the recording when it becomes available.
The recording is consistent with the verbal accounts from everyone present, police records say. “At the conclusion of the recording, Vaughn is heard telling Raaum to not come back to the office and ‘out you go.’ A door is heard closing, and Raaum states, ‘Oh my God.’
“However, the recording cannot indicate the physical actions of the persons involved.”
At the office of Vaughn’s attorney, former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes, she told police that no physical contact was made, but she did go to the door after Raaum left to make sure she had left the building.
Raaum had fallen at her own house, and an ambulance had been dispatched, Barnes and Vaughn gave as a possible explanation of the bruise.
The three other witnesses also said there was no contact made.
“In an interview with Raaum,” records say, “she, herself, described the contact in a manner that did not meet a crime.”
Because of that, plus the disputing accounts from the witnesses and Raaum, Vaughn was “exceptionally cleared” of the alleged crime, records show.
Raaum told police she is considering a civil case.