by: Kerry Kavanaugh Updated:
A Douglasville city councilman's primary residence is in question after he filed homestead tax exemptions on two homes in two different counties.
Under Georgia law, homeowners can only claim one homestead tax exemption for their primary residence.
Councilman Samuel Davis’s attorney calls this is a common mistake.
“Mr. Davis lives in Douglas County,” attorney Antavius Weems said.
Weems says Davis filed for the homestead exemption in Cobb County decades ago when he lived on Cypress Log Place with his late wife. Weems says the Douglasville home on Lake Stone Circle is his primary residence.
"As soon as it was brought to his attention in April he immediately went and removed that exemption,” Weems said.
Weems says the city brought this to Davis's attention after they received a complaint he was getting a dual tax break.
"He forgot?" asked Channel 2’s Kerry Kavanaugh.
“Absolutely,” Weems said. “It's very common. It's almost like when you pay your taxes, you pay your taxes. They send you a bill. You pay what's owed. You get rid of it."
Weems admits Davis still comes and goes from the Austell home, where Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh spotted a shovel with the city of Douglasville seal on his porch.
Kavanaugh also found his professional barber license on file at the Secretary of State's office listing the Austell address. Weems said the business license address could be the address listed from years ago and Davis just renewed as is.
The Douglasville city manager told Kavanaugh over the phone the council decided last week not to pursue an investigation after finding “no clear cut violation.”
No one from the city would speak on camera about their decision.
The Cobb County tax commissioner said auditors found no evidence of intentional fraud. They are back-billing Davis for four years of unpaid taxes.