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Mayor: Investigation was a ‘manufactured and coordinated’ political subterfuge

By JIM BROOKS
Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Thursday, April 6, 2017, 11 a.m. — In a petition filed Wednesday, the attorney representing Bardstown Mayor John Royalty called the Bardstown City Council’s investigation “a manufactured and coordinated subterfuge to politically have the Mayor removed from office.”

The 18-page filing by Bardstown attorney Jason Floyd seeks to delay of the Wednesday, April 12th public hearing regarding the mayor’s removal, citing that failing to do so would not give adequate time to prepare a defense from allegations stemming from an investigation that took three months to complete.

The lawsuit challenges the council’s ability to give the mayor a fair hearing.

Scott Crosbie, investigator for the Bardstown CIty Council, reads the investigation’s findings at the March 28, 2017 council meeting.

While state laws states that the city council serves as the “arbiter of fact” in instances of allegations of official misconduct by a mayor, the lawsuit notes that in this instance, the council will sit in judgment of the allegations they themselves unanimously made against the mayor.

The lawsuit states there is “overwhelming evidence” the council cannot be fair and impartial in this case, and they too will be called to testify as witnesses.

“Mayor Royalty is entitled to due process of law, equal protection of the laws, and to a full and non-arbitrary public hearing from a fair and impartial arbiter of fact,” the lawsuit states.

The petition seeks a ruling from Nelson Circuit Court to essentially discard the council’s plans for the hearing. The filing requests the court to disqualify Scott Crosbie, the council’s investigator, from serving as the council’s legal counsel at the hearing because he is a potential witness who may be called to testify.

The petition also seeks to disqualify the hearing officer selected by the council Tuesday and seeks a court order to allow both sides to recommend a new hearing officer.

The council voted Tuesday to hire former 11th Circuit Judge Doughlas George to preside at the removal hearing. Councilman John Kelley told the council Tuesday he had been in discussions with George, and he had agreed to preside at the hearing.

The lawsuit also asks the court to disqualify former city attorney Bruce Reynolds from serving as the council’s legal counsel on the basis he has personal knowledge of the proceedings and as city attorney provided the mayor with legal advice involving conflicts outlined in the investigator’s report. He may also be called as a witness during the proceedings.

The filing also contends that some of the information gathered by the investigation was obtained illegally, and therefore should not be allowed to be used.

Editor’s note: A lawsuit represents only one side of a dispute.

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