There is simply no other way to put it: In the 32 years I have worked in Augusta media, I have never seen a worse candidate for public office in Columbia County than Joe Mullins.
Other CSRA counties have had a few doozies run for political positions, and certainly we have all been victimized by candidates who impressed us for a while, then failed us, or who won and served while leading double (criminal) lives. But never, and I mean never, has there been a well financed “contender” in conservative Columbia County who behaves like a sociopath and actually has a chance to win like GA State House 122 candidate Joe Mullins.
His bizarre behavior has been documented here, and in the Augusta Chronicle and the Columbia County News Times, almost since the week he announced. His ridiculous personal behavior and business record, his hideous con jobs involving scalped Masters tickets and his complete disregard for the law when it comes to residency, property taxes and court disclosure are legendary.
And yet here he is, with more signs up all over the county than the combined yesteryear campaigns of Eugene Yu, Lewis Blanchard and Lee Anderson. (Those guys all had a ton of signs up… and they all lost)
Yes, there was a kerfuffle this week, as Mullins actually had the gall to call for an ethics investigation of fellow candidate Mack Taylor. He says Mack is responsible for the hiring of a private investigator to “look for dirt” on him, and that he did it without declaring the expense on his financial disclosures.
Taylor denies that. A former Mullins real estate colleague and aspiring politician in his own right, Joe Edge, actually takes credit for that hire. The need was legitimate. With so many paper trails and “residency red herrings” Mullins has floated in the last 10 years, it is hard to keep track of who, where and what he is claiming to be at any given time.
Private investigators are often hired to get to the bottom of shady resumes and shadowy behavior and, from what I am told, Mullins has had three private eyes on his tail in the last calendar year, paid for by three independent entities.
Then again, even if Mack Taylor did hire the guy, whoop-dee-do. Campaign violations are not laws, they are rules. If it was discovered Taylor broke the rule, he would pay a fine of no more than $1,000. That is roughly one-sixth the amount of money that Joe Mullins may allow his own wife to go to jail for, in a hearing before Judge Danny Craig the day after the election.
Joe’s current wife, the former Jennifer Lowery, owes around $6,000 in unpaid child support to the father (and main custodial parent) of her older children. While Mullins has taken great pleasure in posing these kids in several of his campaign ads, he apparently doesn’t want to pony up for their groceries. We would run that picture to prove the point, but why do that to the innocent children?
Joe has said publicly that recently his wife survived a rough pregnancy, and that she has been struggling with assorted illnesses since giving birth to their child last March. Last month’s 911 call that brought deputies to their Westlake home to investigate her domestic disturbance call ended when they accepted Joe’s explanation that his wife had been drinking too much, and that there was no real trouble between them.
Afterwards, Joe made a big deal of the claim that she was in the grips of a severe “postpartum depression” and that she should be given “latitude and privacy.” As an apparent result of this ailment, she has not been working. Double trouble, because it means she has no money coming in, which means she is broke.
In defiance of a long-established court order, she has not paid her mandated child support. In the hearing set for Wednesday, November 4, the current Mrs. Mullins faces real jail time for her failure to pay. All this while she reportedly drives around town in a leased 2015 Mercedes SUV. (awesome ride!)
Joe Mullins has repeatedly told several close to the case that he absolutely refuses to step in and pay his wife’s “baby-daddy” the outstanding debt she owes because he is not the one under court order to pay. What a guy. He can use his stepkids for political props (the above noted campaign pictures), but he goes belly up on a tiny child support payment for them. The monthly obligation is only $500, a mere pittance for a man of (inherited) means like Joe Mullins.
So while the “hardest working politician” is convincing the voters of the 122nd he would go to the mat for their interests, he may be about to allow his wife to go to the hoosegow over a bill that she can’t pay because of the fact that she is still ill from carrying his child.
One other little tidbit that surfaced last week: Mullins finally admitted to CC News Times Publisher Steve Crawford that he did in fact submit that infamous letter to Westlake Country Club last year, insisting that as a “legal resident” of Florida he was entitled to a membership discount. When I first released that letter a few weeks ago, and what we now know to be a falsified (likely by him) Florida tax return that he submitted with the letter, he lied like a damn dog about his knowledge of the letter. As a matter of fact, he blamed both me and Mack Taylor of falsifying the documents in an effort to make him look bad. He doubled down on the deceit.
If he were an attorney and had told such a blatant, public lie, I would have seen to it that he be disbarred. But sadly, sociopathic, narcissistic, serial liars like Joe Mullins have no such organization from which to be banished.
I will have to settle for the fact that his hideous duplicity and horribly inadequate personal and professional resume have been revealed for all to see.
The indefensible act of voting for Joe Mullins can only be explained by stupendous ignorance, enthusiastic corruption or simple insanity.
Just say no to Joe.