Ousted Barbourville mayor appeals removal

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Associated Press

Posted on March 22, 2014 at 11:02 PM

BARBOURVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A southeastern Kentucky mayor ousted after an audit found questionable financial practices is appealing the City Council's vote to remove him from office.

Attorneys for former Barbourville Mayor David Thompson filed the civil action on Thursday with the Knox Circuit Clerk, The Times Tribune (http://bit.ly/NAgwEt) reported.

City Council members voted unanimously on March 11 to remove Thompson. The move came on the heels of a state audit that found several poor financial practices since Thompson took office in 2007.

Administrative charges filed against Thompson highlighted the audit, which included findings that Thompson swayed leaders in 2007 to hire his wife to manage a water park operated by the city; that the city did not obtain bids before purchasing some products; and that it paid more for property than it was worth.

In the appeal, Thompson's attorneys said the council violated his due process rights and asked that the vote to remove him be reversed.

The court documents cite Kentucky Revised Statues, which say elected officials may be removed from office "in case of misconduct, incapacity, or willful neglect in the performance of the duties of his office" by a unanimous vote of a legislative body.

Among other arguments, the appeal states that Thompson wasn't given enough time to prepare for the hearing at which he was removed, that the City Council applied "incorrect rules and incorrect principles of law," that its decision wasn't supported "by substantial evidence of probative value" and that the evidence provided "was manifestly insufficient to prove misconduct, incapacity, or willful neglect."

During the hearing, council members said they thought the evidence was sufficient for their unanimous vote.

"These were actions of misconduct as well as conflicts of interest," Councilman Darren West said immediately after the vote.

West was later chosen to serve as mayor.

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Information from: The Times-Tribune, http://www.thetimestribune.com

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