Firefighter jailed on charge of contempt

GRAYSON - A Gwinnett County Fire Department firefighter remained in jail Friday after a judge ordered his incarceration on a charge of felony contempt of court, documents show.

Kenneth Lamar Dodson, a firefighter at Station No. 8 in Grayson, was arrested Thursday.

A Juvenile Court judge ordered Dodson's arrest after finding he owed more than $37,000 in child support and alimony payments to his ex-wife, Paige Lynn Dodson.

Fire Department spokesman Capt. Thomas Rutledge confirmed Kenneth Dodson's employment but declined to discuss details of the case, calling it a "personal legal matter."

"The department is aware of the charges and is fully confident that the matter will be adjudicated through the judicial system," Rutledge said.

The plaintiff's attorney, David Lipscomb, said Kenneth Dodson is a real estate developer who owns substantial amounts of property. Following his divorce from his wife in August 2004, Kenneth Dodson failed to make property divisions ordered by the court and halted alimony and child support payments, triggering "a long and tortured" legal battle between the two parties, Lipscomb said.

"The divorce provided for a division (of property), and he basically didn't do what he was supposed to do," said Lipscomb.

A motion for contempt filed by Paige Lynn Dodson in Gwinnett Superior Court claims her ex-husband also owes her more than $260,000 for selling property in July 2004.

Documents show Kenneth Dodson's attorney filed to withdraw from the case earlier this year. When the case was recently transferred to juvenile court, Dodson proceeded without a lawyer, said Lipscomb.

The judge set a "purge amount" for Dodson of $37,207, meaning he'll remain in jail until he can pay that amount to the Sheriff's Department, who would then award the money to his ex-wife, said Lipscomb.