Coleman could not be reached for comment, but the indictment took other members of the City Council by surprise.
Both Mayor Steve Tumlin and Councilman Grif Chalfant said they learned about the indictment on Facebook.
“It blows me away. I didn’t know anything like this was in the works,” Chalfant said.
According to the indictment, which was delivered before Cobb Superior Court Judge James Bodiford on Thursday, Terry Mays Jones was arrested in September 2012 on charges of driving under the influence. She entered a plea of reckless driving and was sentenced to perform 100 hours of community service.
“Because of his ongoing relationship with defendant Mays,” the indictment reads, Coleman asked Rev. Joseph Comeaux of Marietta Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church to write letters on her behalf saying she had performed certain community service hours, “when in fact, she had not.”
Coleman and Mays are both charged with four counts: the first count is for violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. There are three counts of making a false statement.
Tumlin said he knew Mays.
“Her husband was a builder — they’re divorced now — and she lost her home there on Church Street. It was foreclosed against him. She’s a good gal and a couple of things have just gone south. I’m going to assume it’s this girl.”
He did not know the extent of their relationship, however.
“I’ve seen them together,” Tumlin said. “Anthony is pretty private. Most of us talk about children and grandchildren. The single ones don’t say much. The times I’ve seen Anthony at a social situation is like at the chamber, and he’s had different dates over the years. I can’t say if he has a relationship or doesn’t have one.”
Tumlin said he had just returned from dinner with his grandchildren when he looked online and saw a post about Coleman.
“So I called Bruton. He knew less than you did,” Tumlin said of City Manager Bill Bruton. “I hadn’t seen that indictment. It won’t be one where the city of Marietta will furnish him a lawyer. He will have to do all that type thing.”
Tumlin said since the offense is not against the city, Coleman will have to pay for his own attorney.
“I’m sure Anthony is spinning right now,” Tumlin said. “He doesn’t even know what hit him. If Bruton didn’t know much, I didn’t know much, there’s a good chance Anthony wasn’t going to get served until tomorrow.”
A source tells the MDJ Coleman is expected to be arrested sometime today.
Both Tumlin and Chalfant said they considered Coleman innocent until proven otherwise.
“You’ve got to find out and give a guy a chance to prove his innocence or prove whether he was guilty of those charges before you can bury him,” Chalfant said. “That’s the way to me everybody should be.”
This is not the first time Coleman has found himself in court. In June of 2012, Coleman pleaded guilty to a charge of assaulting Councilwoman Annette Lewis. Coleman received a sentence of 12 months’ probation, 80 hours of community service, a required anger and violence evaluation and a $600 fine, in addition to court costs. Coleman waived his right to a jury trial and agreed to the plea bargain his lawyers made with assistant solicitor general Annamarie Baltz.
Coleman was represented in that case by Marietta attorney Tom Browning, although Browning said late Thursday he was unaware of these latest allegations.
Neither Tumlin nor Chalfant said they had heard from Coleman.
“I tried to call Anthony just to say ‘steady as you go, be forthright and work through this,’” Tumlin said. “I can’t say, but I know he’s zealous when he tries to help folks, and I hope he used proper judgment.”
Tumlin said he has no problem with Coleman attending council meetings while facing the charges.
“If we had a meeting tomorrow and he walked in we would not ask him to leave,” Tumlin said. “He’s a councilman until something major’s blew up.”
Coleman, an associate minister at Vision for Souls Family Worship Center in Mableton, was re-elected last fall to a fourth four-year term on the City Council.