The simple assault case against Diamondhead Mayor Thomas E. "Tommy" Schafer -- originally scheduled to go to Hancock County Justice Court on Nov. 19 -- has been postponed until Dec. 2.

Court officials said Monday that a special judge must be appointed in the case because three current Hancock County Justice Court judges have recused themselves.

Diamondhead Property Owners Association President Robert Clark Marthouse, II, filed a complaint against Schafer in Diamondhead Municipal Court on Sept. 9, alleging that Schafer "did purposely, knowingly and unlawfully cause bodily injury" to Marthouse by pushing him, "knocking him down causing him to fall over chairs, landing on the ground back first."

The incident allegedly took place on Sept. 4, when Marthouse, Schafer and other members of the Community Collaborative Committee met to discuss Diamondhead amenities.

"The event in question occurred during an official city/POA meeting known as the Community Collaborative," according to a statement released by the POA. "This turn of events saddens us. This incident occurs at the most critical time in our community where we all need to pull together."

The majority of city's parks. golf courses and other recreational amenities are owned, funded and maintained by the POA with private funds generated by dues assessment to property owners pursuant to its covenants. However, the terms of those covenants begin to expire in 2020, leaving both city and POA officials looking for ways to continue funding the amenities.

Soon after the alleged incident, the Diamondhead City Council voted to appoint Councilwoman Nancy Depreo to replace Schafer on the Community Collaborative Committee.

Schafer's attorney Tim Holleman said publicly in September that there was "no substance" to the assault charge and he looks forward to getting people in court and "putting (them) under oath and letting them testify."

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