Former Athens mayoral candidate arrested at Atlanta airport

Former Athens mayoral candidate Richie Knight was arrested on a felony charge of writing a bad check. The candidate received 8.9% of the 15,720 votes cast in the election and lost to current mayor Kelly Girtz. Aug. 11. Photo/Clark County Sheriff's Office

Former Athens mayoral candidate Richie Knight was detained while at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport earlier this month because of an active felony arrest warrant.

TSA officials found the warrant for Knight after running checks on the 30 year old, and a Clarke County Sheriff's officer picked him up for arrest on Aug. 11, Clarke County Sheriff's Cpt. Jessica Goings said. 

Knight was charged with a felony for deposit account fraud, according to ACC Clerk of Superior and State Court records. He was bailed out the next day on a $2,950 surety bond by his mother Maria Knight.

The arrest warrant for Knight was issued by the ACC Magistrate Court in November 2018 after he allegedly wrote a bad check to Better Letter Mailing Services Inc. for $5,975.73 in April 2018.

The mailing services company oversaw a portion of Knight’s mayoral campaign advertisements, The Athens Banner-Herald reported.

The former candidate, legally Richard Marcus Knight, Jr., ran in 2018 and lost to now-Mayor Kelly Girtz.

The co-founder and owner of the seemingly defunct HW Creative Marketing firm in downtown Athens, Knight competed against Girtz and candidate Harry Sims in the 2018 Athens mayoral election and centered his platform on promoting economic development, equal rights for African-American and Latino community members and increased local government transparency. Knight received 8.9% of the 15,720 votes cast in the election.

Knight has a history of allegedly faulty checks.

In March 2018, The Red & Black reported at least five former employees of Knight’s firm filed claims within a span of three months alleging bad or missing paychecks from the businessman. 

One employee said at the time he would “race to the bank” every time he received a paycheck and compete with his coworkers to deposit his check first in fear of insufficient funds remaining for all of the employees, according to past Red & Black coverage. 

In July 2019, state issued an intent to dissolve the LLC under which HW Creative Marketing is registered for either failure to deliver its annual registration and fees on time or not having a registered agent or office in Georgia.

The company’s last documented date of registration was February 2018.

Clarification: The Red & Black published that the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office was unable to locate Knight’s arrest report at press time. The Sheriff's Office did not issue a report on a warrant pickup for Knight because he was arrested outside of the county.

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