MACON, Ga. – Two people reportedly affiliated with the quasi-religious sect United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors were disqualified Wednesday as candidates for Putnam County Commission and county sheriff.
George Jackson, who had qualified to run for sheriff as a Democrat, was disqualified because of a 1976 conviction for shoplifting, a three-member hearing panel ruled.
The panel was made up of Probate Judge Patrice Howard and one representative each from the Democratic and Republican parties.
Macon lawyer Jerry Lumley argued that Jackson’s reported affiliation with the Nuwaubians is the reason the candidacy was challenged.
“Obviously if he’s connected with the Nuwaubians, that’s an unpopular cause,” Lumley said. “But regardless of who he’s affiliated with, he deserves the right to be a candidate for office.”
Lumley said he plans to appeal the ruling.
Nuwaubian leader Malachi York was convicted earlier this year of child molestation charges. That conviction was recently appealed, and his followers have been trying to win his release, saying key witnesses have now recanted their stories.
The group now calls itself the Yamassee Native American Moors of the Creek Nation.
County commission hopeful Anthony Evans also was disqualified Wednesday by the panel, which said he did not meet residency requirements.
As of March, Evans was registered to vote in Fulton County and his qualifying papers list home and business phone numbers with an Atlanta area code, according to Eatonton lawyer Frank Ford, who filed the challenges against both men.
A similar challenge of incumbent Sheriff Howard Sills by a third person affiliated with the Nuwaubians was dismissed.
Robbie Hibner accused Sills of attacking and injuring his ex-wife, a charge the sheriff denies. She also said in her complaint that Sills had harassed her and defamed Nuwaubians.
An Internet site lists Hibner as Secretary of the Interior for the Yamassee Native American Moors group. She did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
Sills said Wednesday he plans to seek re-election as an independent and cannot qualify until June 28.