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Suit dogs Pitts campaign

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Robb Pitts may win election to the Fulton County Board of Commissioners in his race against Republican Karen Handel on name recognition alone. But he's now backed off his contention that the four people suing him to recover money they claim they spent on his 2001 mayoral campaign don't have a case.

The former Atlanta City Council president has softened potential political backlash from the suit by admitting the campaign has legitimate debts and claiming that he is working to retire them. As for the four people suing him -- Melvin Collins, Joe Amos, Kimberly Daniels and Mitzi Bickers -- Pitts has said their claims that they are owed money for putting up more than $50,000 to help get out the vote are without merit.

But in Amos' case, at least, it appears Pitts once thought otherwise.

During December 2001 and January 2002, Pitts made a series of calls to Amos -- which were recorded and saved -- promising to repay him. Additionally, John Jordan, Pitts' campaign treasurer, made a similar call to Amos in late January.

In Jordan's call, he characterizes the debts to Amos as being on the "up and up" and says the campaign will try to find a way to pay him. In another message, Pitts promises he's "going to take care of [Amos]" after discussing a meeting where debt retirement was planned.

Pitts' attorney, Maureen Malone, says her client was not aware of any calls he made to Amos but admits he may be owed some money.

"We're probably going to have to get together at some point and really pin [campaign manager] Daphne Bryson down because she's the one who really dealt with [the plaintiffs]," Malone says. She adds that the more people who tarnish Pitts, the more difficult it is for him to raise money to retire the debt. "They're cutting off their noses to spite their faces."

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