UPDATE 11/30: Although Clark never responded to The Clayton Crescent’s attempts to contact him, sources have since alleged that Clark was seen retrieving what they said were resignation papers and that Clark said any claims that he had resigned were “a lie.” Should we hear directly from Clark, we will update with his response.
In response to an Open Records Request filed by The Clayton Crescent, City Clerk S. Diane White wrote, “We are in receipt of your Open Records Request received on 11/23/2022 at 11:09:37 am regarding 2020 audit report by Ken Bell and Associates 2020 audit report by Lawrence Johnson. Per the Finance Department there is no records [sic] of an audit performed by Ken Bell and Associates.”
We are seeking clarification as to which department ordered the audits and whether the city has a copy of the 2o2o audit report by Lawrence Johnson.
Two reliable sources with connections to law enforcement tell The Clayton Crescent that Forest Park Police Chief Nathaniel Clark has resigned. One source said that Clark had been “forced out,” but did not have further details as of press time.
City officials have not returned requests for comment. The Clayton Crescent was told Clark was at the police department but an officer who answered the door there said she had not seen him and was not authorized to speak about the matter. A film crew was on location at FPPD headquarters Wednesday. No one at City Hall could confirm whether Clark had resigned; the front office said Mayor Angelyne Butler and City Manager Dr. Marc-Antonie Cooper were not at City Hall early Wednesday afternoon. No one answered the door at Clark’s freestanding office on Main Street and Clark’s phone went to voicemail. Councilmembers Latresa Wells, Héctor Gutierrez, and Allan Mears did not respond to calls or text messages.
In recent months, Clark had been under pressure by Butler, who refused his funding and personnel requests for FPPD to join the combined countywide drug and gang task force. Other agencies taking part in the task force include Clayton County Police and the city police departments of Jonesboro, Morrow, Lovejoy, Lake City, and Riverdale. Forest Park was the only invited agency that did not join the strategic task force, which CCPD Chief Kevin Roberts said “double[s] our efforts, both in our cities and in unincorporated Clayton County, by bringing our manpower resources together for crime suppression purposes.”
Clark had filed a whistleblower retaliation suit against the City of Forest Park and a slander suit against Wells after he uncovered several discrepancies in how the city had accounted for various law enforcement funds, including from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia Emergency Management Association. He also filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC gave Clark the go-ahead to remove his case from Clayton County Superior Court to the U.S. Northern District of Georgia.
Here is a timeline of events related to the case and to people involved with city finances. They are drawn from court documents, minutes from Forest Park and Jonesboro city council meetings, and from previous reporting by The Clayton Crescent. Not everyone mentioned in this timeline is mentioned in Clark’s pending federal case, nor are they implicated in Clark’s internal or external investigations.
January 2, 2018: Mayor Angelyne Butler takes office.
January 3, 2018: Butts County Chief Financial Officer Chiquita Barkley resigns, just one month after her title was changed from county comptroller, saying she wants to seek new opportunities. In April 2017, Barkley also had been appointed county clerk. The board changed the CFO and clerk slots to “merit-system positions..no longer subject to annual appointment by the board,” the Jackson Press-Argus reported.
July 2018: Butler swears in Ken Thompson as city finance director. Previously, Thompson had served as chief financial officer of Clayton County Public Schools.
July 1, 2019: The City Council authorizes a contract with Mauldin and Jenkins to award a contract for the city’s Annual Independent Audit “for each of the three fiscal years ending June 30, 2019, 2020, and 2021, with the option of auditing the financial statements for each of the two subsequent fiscal years.”
January 2020: Butler and the council are sworn in. City Manager Angela Redding is terminated.
January 6-May 18, 2020: Clark serves as Interim City Manager, giving him “access to the City’s financial records and accounts, not just those of the police department.”
May 2020: Albert Barker, Jr. is named city manager.
June 19, 2020: Barker extends a written offer of employment to Clark to become Public Safety Manager/Deputy City Manager. Clark accepts.
June 30, 2020: Barker gives Clark a performance review, noting “Clark identified and addressed an array of structural and systematic issues (i.e FLSA and Title VII violations, Enhanced Recruitment and Disparities, CAD/Record Management failures.” Barker added, “during this appointment the reported crime rate decreased significantly in 2019 (8 year low).”
July 1, 2020: Clark is appointed Deputy City Manager/Director of Public Safety.
August 3, 2020: According to minutes of the City Council meeting, Deputy City Manager Clark “stated the City Manager is requesting a procurement audit regarding discrepancies that were identified in the Finance department. The City Manager is asking for your approval to perform the audit.” At the same meeting, Clark made a motion on behalf of Barker to nominate Don Horton as fire chief. Councilmembers Wells, Antoine, and Hector Gutierrez voted yes. James voted no. Mears abstained. Barker was absent due to a death in the family.
August 10, 2020: Barker extends a written contract amendment, “pursuant to the Council Meeting on July 20, 2020 and pursuant to a unanimous vote by the governing body…to reflect the new position of Public Safety Director/Deputy City Manager, [including] education incentives and salary [increase].” The job description places Clark over police, fire, 911, Animal Control, and the Public Information Officer.
Sept. 4, 2020: Clark e-mails Barker that Finance Director Ken Thompson “brought to our attention that in past years SPLOST expenditures were charged to account(s) that doesn’t [sic] exist….I am recommending that an external audit be conducted immediately regarding any and all finances.” Clark also “identified procedural concerns with the City’s federal asset forfeiture account and requested that an audit be conducted.” That audit never happened, according to Clark.
October 28, 2020: Clark e-mails Barker, requesting an immediate financial audit “based upon the DOJ’s recommendation, Finance Director Ken Thompson’s admissions, and financial discrepancies previously identified.” Barker allegedly tells Clark “he was getting directives from members of the Governing Body to stand down immediately on the financial audit. In fact, Barker told Chief Clark and others that he had been offered a large sum of money to stop the financial audits.” In her response, Wells “denies that she told Barker to offer Chief Clark a large sum of money to stop the financial audits.”
November 2, 2020: Barker wrote Clark’s performance review, noting that “the reported crime rate decreased significantly in 2020 (21-year low), this speaks volume[s] of Chief Clark’s dedication in making the community safe for all” and that “Clark was warned that he will face backlash referencing the audits (finding discrepancies) and his continual exposure of biased practices.” That same day, Barker is terminated and Shalonda Brown is named city manager.
November 4, 2020: Clark allegedly “overheard a City Official make a statement that he (Chief Clark) takes detailed notes, to retrieve everything that he has been working on as Deputy City Manager and to ‘stop him.’ That same day…Clark was demoted from his position as Deputy City Manager. Specifically, Chief Clark’s contract was amended so that he would only serve as Public Safety Director and Chief of Police….Clark was only to serve as Deputy City Manager in the absence of a City Manager.”
November 19, 2020: Butler, who also chairs the Urban Redevelopment Authority, tells the URA “[Finance Director Ken] Thompson would be retiring effective December 4 and it is his recommendation [that] Chairwoman Angelyne Butler and Deputy Director of Finance, Darquita Williams, serve as the signatories for the Urban Redevelopment Authority accounts.” Eliot Lawrence moved and Lois Wright seconded the recommendation, which the board approved unanimously. The minutes were included in the April 9, 2021 packet.
November 2020: Thompson resigns, allegedly taking “with him what appeared to be an extensive amount of confidential and highly sensitive financial documents belonging to the City.” The city did not announce Thompson’s resignation.
November 23, 2020: “On or about” this date, “financial documents were removed from the police department without Chief Clark’s consent.”
December 4, 2020: Thompson’s effective resignation date, according to comments made by Mayor Butler during the November 19, 2020 URA meeting.
December 7, 2020: At the City of Jonesboro’s work session, City Manager Ricky L. Clark, Jr. notes the FY 2021 proposed budget recommends the city “Upgrade the Finance Officer position to Finance Director.“
December 14, 2020: The Jonesboro City Council meets new office personnel and considers approval of the FY 2021 proposed budget. No minutes were posted online as of press time on November 23, 2022.
January 4, 2021: The Forest Park City Council discusses the city’s pension plan and the annual temporary loans authorization. The council also holds an executive session to discuss personnel, litigation, real estate, and legal matters from 8:02 p.m. to 8:59 p.m. No action was taken as a result of the executive session. Under Georgia’s Open Meetings Act, it’s not possible for the public to confirm whether the meeting had anything to do with Thompson or the Forest Park Finance Department issues.
January 19, 2021: The Forest Park City Council meets. Deputy Finance Director Darquita Williams presents on three requested positions for the Finance Department—staff accountant, procurement assistant, and business license assistant—”[d]ue to the increase in workflow and the reexamination of processes and priorities….The ultimate goal of this request [is] to increase the overall efficiency of the department, create more accountability to the community for the public’s funds, and enhance the services provided to the public/community from the Finance Department.”
Williams said the request was a follow-up from the council retreat, “where we discuss[ed] improvements and short falls that we have been experiencing in the Finance Department.” Councilwoman Kimberly James said, “[W]e have an even bigger issue. We have a position for a Finance Director that has not been filled and I feel that he or she would be given the opportunity to evaluate the department to see what is and who is needed.” Williams said software updates and technology upgrades were discussed at the retreat. “We have not done the research on the business license software. We have implemented some other things: entered an agreement with EGov for online tax payments, installing a drive-thru and implementing remote deposits. We have started looking at some technology. Our business license technician has started the research on business licenses but [has] not narrowed it down to three prospects.” Williams said she would get with staff and bring back more information at the next meeting. Butler asked, “If this is approved, are you wanting to wait until the finance director is onboard to have input?” Williams replied, “That is an option. I am willing to work with whatever Council will allow us to have. But if you would like to wait, we are willing, I just wanted to follow up from our previous conversation with the positions that I see [a] need to improve the processes in the Finance Department.” Antoine asked Interim City Manager Shalonda Brown what the timeline was for hiring a new finance director. Brown replied, “I was instructed that I was not to hire the Finance Director but to allow the new city manager to do so. Once you have hired the city manager, he or she will be instructed to hire a finance director. The position has been advertised and will continue to be advertised until February 1.”
James said she did not recall the council giving those instructions. “That was done in executive session,” Antoine replied. Under Georgia’s Open Meetings Act, lawmakers taking part in executive session are bound not to disclose the substance of executive session discussions to the public. The council went into executive session from 7:13 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. to discuss personnel, litigation, real estate, and legal matters. No action was taken as a result of the executive session. Under Georgia’s Open Meetings Act, it’s not possible for the public to confirm whether the meeting had anything to do with Thompson or the Forest Park Finance Department issues.
January 25, 2021: The Forest Park City Council holds an emergency special called meeting for the purpose of an executive session on personnel, litigation, real estate, and legal matters. The executive session ran from 5:01 p.m. to 6:52 p.m. According to the minutes, “Mayor Butler stated for the record that Councilmember[s] Antoine and Wells left the Executive Session at 5:40 p.m.” No action was taken as a result of the executive session. Under Georgia’s Open Meetings Act, it’s not possible for the public to confirm whether the meeting had anything to do with Thompson or the Forest Park Finance Department issues.
January 26, 2021: Brown says the city has chosen three finalists for the city manager position. One is Dr. Marc-Antonie Cooper, a former Atlanta Watershed Management director of operations in the Office of Customer and Business Services.
February 1, 2021: Thompson was listed as present as Finance Director on the Jonesboro City Council work session agenda. The same evening, the Forest Park City Council voted unanimously to approve two new positions, procurement assistant and business license assistant, for the Finance Department. Butler asked Brown whether “the hiring of the positions could wait until the new finance director is hired.” Brown said yes. Wells asked City Attorney Mike Williams whether Brown had to wait or not. Williams replied, “Yes, she can hire them now as the city manager.”
March 11, 2021: David Roberts, government advisory lead partner with Mauldin and Jenkins, sends Mayor Angelyne Butler an engagement letter to establish “a Project Management Office (PMO) to assist the City with implementation of the recommendations identified with the City-Wide Operational and Performance Audit.” That office, “staffed by M&J professionals, will help to facilitate the implementation of recommendations create project management tools for implementation; and will track/report on the progress of implementation.”
March 2021: Human Resources Director Shalonda Brown files a sexual harassment complaint against Fire Chief Don Horton. Clark, who was Horton’s supervisor at the time, puts Horton on administrative leave and calls for an external investigation. Wells allegedly “told Chief Clark prior to the sexual harassment allegations…that Chief Horton had given her $1,000 and that she had not recorded it to either her ward or to her campaign.” Clark allegedly told Wells twice that she needed to report the $1,000 but that, “upon information and belief, it was never recorded.”
April 19, 2021: The URA approves the minutes from its November 19, 2020 meeting, during which Butler notified the URA of Thompson’s resignation and Thompson’s recommendation that she and Deputy Finance Director Darquita Williams sign the URA’s checks. Other minutes approved included those from January 28, 2021 and February 25, 2021. The URA also adopted a $42.11 million revenue bond resolution during the meeting.
April 26, 2021: The Forest Park City Council votes 3-2 to overturn City Manager Cooper’s termination of Fire Chief Don Horton for alleged sexual harassment of Shalonda Brown. Mayor Angelyne Butler, who also allegedly was the target of an inappropriate joke by Horton, then “un-recused” herself to veto the decision.
May 3, 2021: Thompson is listed as Finance Director on the May 3, 2021 Jonesboro City Council work session minutes.
May 10, 2021: Thompson is listed as Finance Director on the May 10, 2021 Jonesboro City Council regular meeting minutes.
May 17, 2021: The City Council votes on Mauldin and Jenkins’ temporary office but does not go into specifics of the findings during the public meeting.
“I just need a little clarity on this,” James said. “Especially with the operations and performance audit that was just done, it seemed pretty specific on what the recommendations were. So I’m trying to find a justification for the cost. Is it that we don’t have the manpower and the staff to implement what their recommendations are?”
Cooper said, “We would be utilizing Mauldin and Jenkins’ expertise to get things set up based on their recommendations, based on the things found in the audit, for certain areas, namely finance, and in some of the other areas, to basically get things set up to where our staff could be trained, set up and take it over. At this point, we don’t have the required expertise on staff to basically implement a lot of the recommendations that Mauldin and Jenkins are requesting.”
“So it’s mostly in the area of finance,” James replied, “not necessarily in other departments. Because I know they had recommendations in all departments.”
Cooper said, “This would basically be in the finance area, and we would be looking in the HR area.”
The council approved the contract.
May 28, 2021: City Manager Marc-Antoine Cooper “summon[s]” Clark to his office “and accuse[s]” Clark of having Deputy Fire Chief Latosha Clemmons “followed….Clark was placed under investigation but…the allegations were unfounded.”
May 2021: “the Fire Chief’s reporting structure was changed so that the Fire Chief no longer reports to Chief Clark but instead reports directly to the City Manager, which is inconsistent with his job description and contract signed by the Governing Body.”
June 7, 2021: The Jonesboro City Council work session agenda includes an “Executive Session for the purpose of discussing personnel related matters and pending and/or potential litigation.” Under Georgia’s Open Meetings Act, it’s not possible for the public to confirm whether the meeting had anything to do with Thompson or the Forest Park Finance Department issues.
June 30, 2021: The City of Forest Park’s Budget Comparison Report included a line item under General Fund Revenues, “FBI Reimbursement,” of $10,000. The same day, the City of Jonesboro held a special called meeting for an hour-long executive session to discuss personnel-related matters. Under Georgia’s Open Meetings Act, it’s not possible for the public to confirm whether the meeting had anything to do with Thompson or the Forest Park Finance Department issues.
July 5, 2021: The Jonesboro City Council holds a work session. No agenda, minutes, or video had been posted on the city’s website as of press time November 23, 2022.
July 12, 2021: Thompson was present as Finance Director on the Jonesboro City Council’s July 12, 2021 regular meeting agenda. City Manager Ricky Clark, Jr. introduces Nina Robinson, who had started the previous Friday, as the new finance director. Clark says, “I had to let Ken present his item tonight, only because this is Ken’s last council meeting after thirty-something years. Ken will be with us until the end of the month. It’s been a joy to work with Ken, Mayor Day. Ken is an amazingly smart individual and has a big personality, if you can ever get him to bring it out, and I think he came into our office, where all of us could get him him laughing often.” The council held an executive session to discuss personnel matters. No action was taken as a result of the executive session.
July 29, 2021: Thompson retires as Jonesboro finance director.
August 2, 2021: Clemons is named Forest Park fire chief.
August 12, 2021: Clark files an EEOC complaint alleging the city violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
August 19, 2021: Clark asks Deputy Finance Director Darquita Williams to seek an audit on the city’s federal asset forfeiture accounts.
August 27, 2021: Clark e-mails Deputy Finance Director Darquita Williams, “requesting the status…and to be kept abreast” of the federal asset forfeiture account audit he had asked for.
Clark contacts the U.S. Department of Justice about the federal forfeiture account. DOJ calls for an immediate audit.
Clark “also discovered other financial discrepancies,” specifically $200,000 in bank reconciliations that didn’t add up, as well as “discrepancies with the FBI reimbursement” and ”the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security (GEMA) grant.”
September 2021: Wells “wanted Cooper to reopen an investigation that had concluded nearly a year ago during which a member of the police department had made claims against Chief Clark, which were investigated, and found to be unfounded.” Wells also “wanted to see a copy of every exit interview and every grievance filed against Chief Clark,” allegedly to “demean” and “punish” Clark over the Horton investigation.
September 12, 2021: An anonymous e-mail from “Concerned Citizens of Forest Park” to Clark alleged that “Wells and her husband had physically assaulted a citizen. A criminal investigation was opened. Soon thereafter, Chief Clark received information that the investigation appeared to have been compromised as Councilwoman Wells had received confidential information from someone at the police department regarding details of the investigation.” In her written response, Wells “denies receiving confidential information from someone at the police department.”
September 22, 2021: Wells posts a Facebook Live video “in which she appears to reference paperwork she was receiving from a member of the police department regarding the investigation.”
October 7, 2021: Clark e-mailed Cooper, asking for an outside investigation “(to avoid the appearance of impropriety)” about the alleged police leak to Wells. No outside investigation followed.
October 23, 2021: Clark contacts U.S. Department of Justice Equitable Sharing Program Manager Brian Boykin about accounting discrepancies with the city’s federal forfeiture funds.
October 28, 2021: Clark e-mails Barker, detailing his concerns with the city’s handling of “SPLOST Funds, E-911 Funds, FBI Reimbursement (Task Force), Federal Asset Forfeiture/Equitable Starting, Documentary and Procedural Issues with these and other funding issues.” Clark adds that had spoken with Thompson about:
- “Current SPLOST Funds (per Director Thompson’s admission to you and me—funds were charged in the past to accounts that don’t exist”
- “E-911 Funds (possibly co-mingled with the city’s general funds”
- “Bank Reconciliations/Discrepancy (per Lori Muse, Finance Dept. approximately $200,000+)
- “FBI Reimbursement (per Wanda Dutton, there appear to be funding discrepancies)”
- “GEMA—Emergency Management Performance Grant (per Elaine Comer, Fire Department) there appear to be funding discrepancies”
- “Federal Asset Forfeiture/Equitable Sharing (procedural concerns i.e. bank boss, employee names on accounts)”
- Clark mentions two previous FPPD audits, by Ken Bell and Associates and Lawrence Johnson, “where issues were found and corrected.”
November 1, 2021: Clark files suit in Clayton County Superior Court, alleging the city retaliated against him in violation of the state Whistleblowers Act, and suing Wells for slander and intentional infliction of emotional distress for allegedly harassing and defaming him.
November 4, 2021: Mayor Angelyne Butler is served at City Hall.
November 15, 2021: The Clayton Crescent e-mails Thompson seeking comment on Clark’s allegations against him in Clark’s lawsuit. One minute later, The Clayton Crescent receives this autoresponder message: “I have retired as of July 29, 2021. Please send your inquires to Nina Robinson at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you and God bless.” City Manager Ricky L. Clark, Jr. tells The Clayton Crescent that “[Thompson] is moving out of the state to be closer to his grandkids,” but that he is not sure exactly where that would be. The Clayton Crescent has not been able to track down Thompson for comment.
January 4, 2022: Ward 1 Councilwoman Kimberly James filed an ethics complaint against Wells, alleging that Well’s Facebook Live video was “false, misleading, unethical, without merit, humiliating and defaming the character of staff and elected officials” and that it “caused the public, which includes staff in every department including police, as well as residents, non-residents, business owners and potential business owners to question the integrity of everyone personally named in the outrageous video.”
January 18, 2022: Forest Park hires Chiquita Barkley as city finance director. From June 2005 to May 2010, Barkley had worked for the City of Atlanta as a senior administrative analyst. From May 2010 to April 2013, Barkley worked as a business manager. (About the same time, from February 2010 to May 2013, Mitzi Bickers also worked at City Hall as Human Services Director. Bickers was convicted on nine of 12 federal corruption counts related to a contract pay-to-play scheme at City Hall.) From 2013 to 2018, Barkley worked first as budget and finance director, then as controller, for the Butts County Board of Commissioners. In January 2018, she returned to the City of Atlanta as a financial performance and operation consultant.
February 3, 2022: Wells is the subject of a city ethics hearing over her Facebook Live video attacking Clark, Butler, and councilmembers.
February 7, 2022: Clark argues that Wells’ alleged defamation of his character had a particular impact on the “paramilitary” nature of the police department.
February 21, 2022: The city argues that Clark’s job duties as deputy city manager came second to his duties as police chief, and that his contract stated his city manager duties could change or be reassigned at any time.
February 23, 2022: Superior Court Judge Jewel C. Scott recuses herself from the case.
March 2, 2022: Barkley starts her position as Forest Park finance director.
March 7, 2022: Wells asks the court to dismiss the slander case: “Wells stated that the City of Forest Park Mayor and Council ordered Plaintiff to investigate her illegally….These statements are not defamatory because they do not concern Plaintiff. Similarly, allegations that Councilwoman Wells compromised the integrity of an investigation and that she received information improperly do not amount to slander because these allegations do not concern [Clark].” The same day, the council held a public hearing on the ethics officer’s report on the allegations against Wells and voted to censure Wells. It also censured Antoine for unauthorized use of his city P-card for personal clothing items and Christmas gifts, some of which Antoine said were paid for by “funds donated to the city by a private party,” as well as for allegedly accepting free gasoline, car tags, and meals from Johnny “Rocko” Coleson, who Antoine later recommended for a contract to repave Perkins Park.
March 15, 2022: Superior Court Judge Geronda V. Carter recuses herself from the case.
April 4, 2022: Clark “request[s] that the EEOC issue the Dismissal and Notice of Right to Sue,” which he expects to get within 30 days. Clark, the city, and Wells ask the court for a 45-day stay, pending the case going to federal court.
April 20, 2022: The EEOC notifies Clark’s attorneys that it has sent his Dismissal and Notice of Right to Sue to the U.S. Department of Justice.
May 16, 2022: The city’s 2023 proposed budget includes a General Fund line item, “FBI Reimbursement,” of $10,000 for FY 2022 and a projected $1,637.31 projected for FY 2023. The budget code is 100-00-0000-34-2905. Cooper writes this budget “is the first where we were able to conduct an in-depth analysis reviewing city revenues and department expenditures,” noting the city had “faced multiple obstacles this year…as well as internal challenges presented and requiring bold solutions.” Cooper adds the city “will cautiously consider all the lessons learned over the last fifteen (15) months” and “commend[s] Finance Director Chiquita Barkley, Deputy Finance Director Darquita Williams, as well as each of the Department Directors for their input and assistance.”
May 19, 2022: All sides request a 30-day stay on all deadlines.
May 25, 2022: Superior Court Judge Shana Rooks Malone orders all deadlines stayed until June 22, 2022.
June 13, 2022: A discussion item on Butler’s veto lists three asset forfeiture funds the mayor says Clark should use for participation in a countywide drug and gang task force, as well as for equipment and training. These include two federal Drug Enforcement Agency forfeiture accounts, which Butler indicated totaled $1.24 million as of June 1:
July 7, 2022: The Forest Park City Council denies Clark’s request for $320,000 to take part in a countywide drug and gang task force.
July 13, 2022: Clark’s case is moved to federal court in the U.S. Northern District of Georgia.
September 12, 2022: Wells and Clark ask the court to stay discovery “pending a final resolution of both of defendants’ motions to dismiss.”
September 29, 2022: U.S. Magistrate Judge Regina D. Cannon orders both Clark and Wells to file “the required Certificate of Interested Persons” by October 10, 2022.
October 2022: Darquita Williams leaves Forest Park to become financial director for the City of Nashville in Berrien County, GA.
December 12, 2022: Deadline for discovery.
Clark v. City of Forest Park et al. is before U.S. District Judge Charles A. Pannell. The case number is 1:22-cv-02748.