Alpharetta man's website demands 2 city leaders to resign

by: Mike Petchenik Updated:


ALPHARETTA, Ga. - An Alpharetta man has started a website demanding two city leaders resign.

Jeff Berry told Channel 2's Mike Petchenik he started as a way to pressure Michael Cross to step aside after police arrested him in February on DUI and child endangerment charges. Alpharetta police said Cross was driving recklessly and smelled of alcohol when they pulled him over with his 7-year-old son in the car.

"I was disturbed to hear we had yet another example of a public official behaving badly," Berry said. "He is, in fact, innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, but that doesn't necessarily extend to his entitlement for public service."

An open records request filed by Petchenik reveals that Berry has been sending emails to Cross and other council members, demanding his resignation and threatening political retaliation if he does not.

Berry has also taken aim at councilman Donald Mitchell, who is now appearing in the Style Network's "Big Rich Atlanta." Some have criticized Mitchell for his behavior on the show, appearing drunk and, some believe, disparaging to women.

"I believe his behavior is every bit as outrageous as the behavior Michael Cross has exhibited," said Berry. "Whether he was acting or not, the role he's playing is embarrassing to the city and beneath the dignity of his public office, so I do believe he should step down."

Mitchell and Cross declined to be interviewed by Petchenik. Michael Penn, an attorney representing Cross, sent the following statement about Berry's website:

"Mr. Cross continues to deny the charges and allegations against him and continues to carry the presumption of innocence affording him by the United States Constitution. He looks forward to a speedy resolution of this matter. Unfortunately, there will always be some in our community who prefer to jump to conclusions without allowing the Courts to do their job in accordance with due process. Mr. Berry's communications are threatening in nature, unusual, profane, and clearly inappropriate. We are not concerned that reasonable people will be influenced by his vile statements and threats, and we do not plan to publicly address the matter further."

Mitchell emailed Petchenik the following statement:

"The truth is I have received numerous calls and emails from supporters and I have only received one call or email with any concern at all. I called him back and he was more than kind and understanding.

"I am a very positive person but I refuse to answer a blog that seeks to stir up more upheaval and that started the unrest in the first place. Most of the commenters who either write the blog either do not live in the city or will not identify themselves. Everyone has my email and is welcomed write to me if they would like. I have many important things to accomplish for the city and I am focusing on those as I always have."