Partners in Georgia Zoo fend off lawsuit

Attorney Robert E. Jones is followed by his clients Andrew L O’Connell and William Killmer as they enter Madison’s courthouse for the second day of a two-day trial.

The Georgia Zoo, LLC journeys further down the turbulent road that has spanned more than four years.

Judge Brenda H. Trammell presided over the two-day civil court case which began May 2 in the Superior Court of Morgan County. Testimony for the defense was heard from partners of the Georgia Zoo, LLC, William Killmer and Chief Financial Officer Andrew L. O’Connell, along with Operations, Education & Public Programs manager Brandi Anderson. Robert Tucker’s wife, Misa, testified for the plaintiff, along with former partner Michael Vaden.

Tucker asked the judge to determine whether he was ever truly a partner of the LLC and whether the company owed him for the sweat equity he invested in the company between January 2015 and March 2017, claiming it totaled almost a million dollars of graphic design work. He and Misa testified they relocated from New York in 2013 with the understanding that he would be an equal partner in the business. Tucker worked from 2013 until 2015 without an agreement. Anderson claimed Tucker began to miss deadlines and was distracted by a business he shares with his wife. Tucker said his workload dropped dramatically after Killmer and O’Connell began to outsource work, causing him to feel alienated. In 2017, Killmer and O’Connell voted to remove Tucker from the partnership, after he expressed an interest in getting out. They assigned a zero value to his 10 percent share, according to both sides.

“I had no idea what was happening with the business,” he said on the stand and stated he never received monetary compensation for any of the work he completed.


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