In October, the Ozark City Council voted 3-2 to censure Mayor Mark Blankenship after he passed out private text messages of citizen Bryant Fontenot on city letterhead before a council meeting.
Multiple sources familiar with the situation confirmed to APR Thursday that Blankenship has now pressed charges of harassment against Fontenot in the latest chapter of their feud.
The charges seem to stem from a series of verbal altercations between Blankenship and Fontenot in the weeks since the censure vote.
Fontenot publicly criticized Blankenship numerous times during the public comment section of Ozark City Council meetings for his interactions with citizens on the Ozark Dale County Public Library controversy. Specifically, Fontenot called Blankenship out for the mayor’s threat to sue citizen Adam Kamerer after Kamerer released Blankenship’s text messages requesting the removal of LGBTQ booms.
After Fontenot first criticized Blankenship, the mayor sent him a text noting Gov. Kay Ivey’s stance on libraries along with the message “looks like you made a fool out of yourself!”
Fontenot then played a large role in a citizen-driven push for Blankenship’s censure.
The council ultimately noted all of these skirmishes in its censure resolution, although councilmembers Stanley Enfinger and Leah Harlow voted against censure.
Council president Brenda Simechak, the deciding vote, said it was the distribution of Fontenot’s texts on city letterhead that pushed her over the line.