The Georgia Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that former Georgia House of Representative member and Judge of the Georgia Court of Appeals Christian Coomer has been removed permanently from the bench following his misconduct.
Coomer was appointed to the seat by former Gov. Nathan Deal in 2018.
The move comes after Coomer was accused of violating ethics rules on how a lawyer should treat a client and of taking from his campaign account to pay for a family vacation to Hawaii as well as loans to keep his law firm in business.
Things began to fall for Coomer when an investigation into the acts was launched by the GBI after then 78 year-old Jim Fihart, of Cartersville, said that Coomer took advantage of him during a time in which he suffered from diminished mental capacity to make decisions. Fihart said that he loaned $159,000 to Coomer’s holding company in March of 2018 with the promise that the money would be paid back in a year. However, the promissory note that was written said it was to be paid off in 30 years when he would be well into his 100s. The note listed Fihart’s property as security of the debt should it not be paid off.
Coomer has said that the property discrepancy is a “scrivener’s error”, meaning it was an unintentional mistake when writing the document. Coomer also immediately offered to correct the error when it was drawn to his attention.
Then in September of that same year, Coomer, again through his holding company, borrowed another $130,000. This was to be paid off when Fihart would have turned 84, and was also unsecured.
Commer said that he advised Fihart to consult other counsel before issuing the loans. Promissory notes that are attached to the lawsuit reflect that, with memos signed by both men.
Coomer has also acknowledged that he drew up multiple wills for Fihart and initially made himself executor of the estate. Fihart’s lawsuit states that Coomer then made his wife the executor, giving Coomer’s wife control of distributing his estate.
Fihart alleges that Coomer should have known that he was impaired and unable to make reasonable decisions. Coomer argues that it wasn’t until 2019 that Fihart suggested that he was somehow impaired.
Coomer released a statement saying “I will use this setback as an opportunity to reexamine my flaws and do better,” He added, “I remain committed to my core values of dedication to God and my family, and engagement in service to others.”
“By demonstrating a pattern of refusing to comply with the law and professional norms when noncompliance was in his interest, he has undermined the public’s trust in his ability to follow and apply the law honestly and fairly in cases that come before him,” the Georgia Supreme Court said in its 49-page opinion.
Below is a video Coosa Valley News did with Coomer before running for his seat in the House of Representatives 13 years ago.