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Judge recuses self from city lawsuit

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Superior Court Judge Quentin Sumner

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BY LINDELL JOHN KAY
Staff Writer

Thursday, May 16, 2019

A state judge has removed himself from a case involving a candidate for the Rocky Mount City Council.

Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Quentin Sumner recused himself this week in the lawsuit-countersuit of City of Rocky Mount v. Tarrick Pittman.

Sumner didn't include a reason for his recusal in the court file and couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

The case involves Pittman — now a candidate for Ward 1— refusing to pay rent in the city-owned building where he is a tenant until mold remediation is completed.

City Attorney Jep Rose said the status of the case remains the same and the case will be rescheduled by another judge.

Pittman said he's been advised by his attorney not to comment other than to say he's looking forward to his day in court.

Pittman is president of the Downtown Merchants Association and a member of the Central City Revitalization Panel. He owns and operates CoolGeeks, a computer repair shop.

Since December 2016, Pittman's business has been housed in the Manhattan Building on East Thomas Street on the Douglas Block in downtown Rocky Mount.

The building has mold due to water intrusion. The city, which owns the property, has sued Pittman for withholding rent. Pittman counter-sued the city for breach of rental contract.

The legal action began in small claims court then moved up to state Superior Court.

The city is suing Pittman for $9,000; Pittman counter-sued for roughly the same amount.

Pittman previously said he isn't just a guy who won't pay his rent. He said he's standing up to City Hall and defending the Douglas Block.

"The rent money is set aside in a bank account," Pittman told the Telegram in January. "It's about taking a stand. I'm an original member of the Douglas Block. They're disrespecting me."

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