MERRY CHRISTMAS! Gilmer Free Press Reports FOIA lawsuit against CROOKS from CROOKED COUNTY!!

G-FYI™: Legal Action against Clerk and Gilmer County Commission for Withholding Information image West Virginia’s Freedom of Information ACT (FOIA) was enacted to give citizens access to information to which they are entitled.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Elements of the act were detailed eloquently by Mr. Darrell McGraw, the Attorney General of West Virginia (Google WV FOIA). The ACT’s purpose is to keep citizens fully informed to enable them to independently evaluate performances of our public institutions and its officials. Gilmer County has a sordid history of willful withholding of information by its officials. However, with emergence of the information age, veils of secrecy are beginning to unravel.

For a prime example, Mr. Lawrence Smith, an investigative reporter for the West Virginia Record known as West Virginia’s Legal Journal, initiated legal action to achieve disclosure of the County Commission’s settlement of a recent lawsuit.

The defendants in Mr. Smith’s court filing are Ms. Jean Butcher and the Gilmer County Commission. The filing related to the aftermath of the River’s View housing project by the Gilmer Housing Partners, LLC for which Terry Butcher and Timothy Butcher, local attorneys, are key individuals.

After construction occurred at the site a lawsuit was filed in Federal Court. The allegation was that there was improper recording of lien information for the property.

The Commission as one of the defendants lost the case to come under a Federal order to pay a penalty, but details about the penalty were kept secret from citizens.

 Mr. Smith requested information three times. After refusals to respond, he filed a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief with Judge Facemire to plea for disclosure of the information.

A copy of the filing and the third FOIA request are provided below. In his third request, Mr. Smith stated that the penalty for noncompliance is “punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, 20 days in jail or both.” Citizens await Judge Facemire’s important decision.

The issue is crucial for citizens because without full disclosure of essential information, accountability, the bulwark of our democracy, is impossible.

There is a new controversy over actions by Judge Richard A Facemire involving one of the longest lasting court cases in Gilmer County history. The “Travesty of Justice” case that got a vote of 3 to 2 during the final argument phase was in WV Supreme Court all of 06 and most of 07. Jessica H Donahue Rhodes from the Lawyer Disciplinary Counsel was recently caught on tape releasing info regarding misconduct by Judge Facemire while she was being asked what happened to the evidence submitted that proved that Gerry Hough was involved in a conspiracy to hide a title and evidence from the Circuit Court and WVSC. She, un prompted ...went into a defense as to why no action was taken against Facemire when the question was simply …what happened to the evidence against Hough Bitch?!

Accordingly, if corrective measures are not ordered by Judge Facemire to keep Gilmer County’s citizens informed, checks and balances, particularly those exercisable in our voting booths, will remain stifled to allow business as usual to reign. Lawsuit filed on Friday, December 23, 2011

Click H E R E for actual copy of the Lawsuit

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF GILMER COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA Jay Lawrence Smith, an individual Plaintiff, Civil Action No. [11-C-29] v. Honorable [Richard A. Facemire], Judge Jean Butcher, in her capacity as Clerk of the Gilmer County Commission, and The Gilmer County Commission, a political subdivision,

Defendants COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF Now comes the Plaintiff, Jay Lawrence Smith, who states as follows: PARTIES 1. Jay Lawrence Smith (“Smith”) is a resident of Hurricane, Putnam County, West Virginia. 2. Smith is a free-lance legal researcher and journalist whose principal place of business is in South Charleston, Kanawha County, West Virginia. 3. Defendant Jean Butcher (“Butcher”) is a resident of Gilmer County, West Virginia and was, at all times relevant hereto, the Clerk of the Gilmer County Commission. 4. Defendant Gilmer County Commission (“the Commission”) is a political subdivision organized under the laws of the state of West Virginia with an address of 10 Howard St., Glenville, WV 26351. 5. Though independently elected by popular vote, the Clerk is the custodian of all records held by the Commission including, but not limited to, deeds, deeds of trust, Uniform Commercial Code filings and UCC fixture filings. 6. This Court has jurisdiction over this matter and over the parties. 7. As the conduct complained of, and as more particularly set forth herein, occurred in Gilmer County, this matter is properly venued with this Court. FACTUAL BACKGROUND 8. Smith restates the allegations contained in Paragraphs 1-7 9. On or about Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011, Smith learned of a settlement in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia between the Defendants and Summit Community Bank (“Summit”), a foreign corporation located at 100 West Jubal Early Dr., Winchester, VA, 22601 (Case number ll-cv-39). 10. After it was named as a co-defendant in a breach of contract suit hi the district court on March 10, 2010, Summit filed a third-party complaint against the Defendants on Oct. 25, 2010.

Jean Butcher Crooked County Commission Clerk with help of assistance Angel Ball feel they can make up their own rules, but this is the year we put them both in prison for all the crimes others will blame on them, for they are the fall guys for all the crimes of the past!

In its third-party complaint, Summit alleged defendants bore responsibility for it being named in the original complaint as the Clerk failed to properly record the names of both owners of at least one if not more parcels of property on a UCC fixture filing. 11. Said property/properties was/were previously owned by Gilmer Housing Partners (“GHP”), a domestic corporation located at One Pioneer Drive, Glenville, WV, 26351, and sold to New Horizon Home Sales (“New Horizon”), a domestic corporation located at 3048 Hinton Rd., Athens, WV 26651, and its president, Jack Jones (“Jones”). Also, said property/properties is/are located in the River’s View subdivision along W. Va. Route 5 near the Otterbein United Methodist Church outside of Glenville. 12. Upon learning of the settlement, Smith called Edward McDevitt (W. Va. Bar I.D. #2437) (“McDevitt”), counsel for Summit to inquire about the terms. 13. When contacted, McDevitt said ‘“You’ll need to speak with their [Butcher and the Commission’s] attorney about that.‘“ 14. Upon concluding his call with McDevitt, Smith called Wendy Greve (W. Va. Bar I.D. # 6599) (“Greve”), counsel for Butcher and the Commission in the third-party complaint, about the terms of the settlement as instructed by McDevitt. When he was unable to speak with Greve, Smith left her a voice-message requesting it. 15.

Out of an abundance of caution, the next day, Wednesday, Oct. 12, Smith sent a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request to Butcher. In his request, Smith sought the following information: A. The terms of the settlement. B. The total payout made by the county either through its general revenue fund or a third party. C. The names of all third parties making said payments. D. The total payout made by either the county or any third parties to the lawyer(s) or law firm(s) representing the county (Attached as Exhibit “A”). 16.

The FOIA request was sent to Butcher and the Commission via e-mail, fax and U.S. Mail. 17. When Smith failed to receive a reply from Butcher within the statutory five business days, Smith sent her a second FOIA request dated Oct. 22, 2011. The request was again sent to Butcher and the Commission via e-mail, fax and U.S. Mail (Attached as Exhibit “B”). 18. When Smith, once again, failed to receive a reply from Butcher within another five business days of his second FOIA request, he sent her a third request dated Nov. 11, 2011. The third request was once again sent to Butcher and the Commission via e-mail, fax and U.S. Mail (Attached as Exhibit “C”). 19. In his third FOIA request, Smith notified Butcher, and the Commission that if the information he requested was not forthcoming by Wednesday, Nov. 16, he would bring a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief before this Court. 20. On multiple occasions following submission of all his FOIA requests, Smith attempted to avoid filing the instant suit by making repeated phone calls to Greve seeking the terms of the settlement.

All the calls he made to Greve were routed to voice-mail, and never returned. 21. The failure of Butcher, the Commission and Greve to provide Smith the details of the settlement in Summit’s third-party complaint against the Defendants has prompted the instant suit. ARGUMENTS 22. Smith restates the allegations in paragraphs 1 -21. 23.

The West Virginia FOIA law, W. Va. Code 298-1-3(1), states: “Every person has a right to inspect or copy any public record of a public body in this State, except as otherwise expressly provided by section four [29B-1-4] of this article.“ 24.

The Crooked County Commission Clerk with the CROOKED AS HELL Secretary of State of West Virginia the NO TALENT former small market TV personality with standing with Angel Ball, all three guilty of conspiracy to hide evidence that proves a felony in election fraud from November of 2010, these people are smiling because they rigged an election and got away with it!

Defendants have not provided a reason under 29B-1 -4(1) as to why Smith cannot see the information first requested in his Oct. 12, 2011, FOIA. 25.

Instead, Defendants have wantonly, maliciously, deliberately and vexatiously failed to respond to any of Smith’s FOIA requests. 26. Smith’s interest in this action outweighs any arguments for non-disclosure. Moreover, the information requested is public information. WHEREFORE, the Plaintiff prays that this Court: 1. declare that the Defendant’s refusal to disclose the records requested by Smith is unlawful; 2. grant injunctive relief, enjoining Defendants from withholding records without justification and ordering production to Smith of records improperly withheld; 3. grant a permanent injunction requiring the Defendants to undergo training for better understanding of W. Va. Code 29B, and implement a plan for more timely responses to FOIA responses; 4. award Smith his costs and reasonable attorney fees incurred in this action, as required by W. Va. Code 29B-1-7; and 5. grant Smith such other relief as the Court may deem just and proper.

Jay Lawrence Smith Pro se 5312 MacCorkle Ave., S.W. #238 South Charleston, WV 25309 (304) 397-6075 nislmediainc@yahoo.com

Click H E R E for actual copy of the Exhibit A – First Request

–First Request 12 October 2011 Jean Butcher, Clerk Gilmer County Commission 10 Howard St. Glenville, WV 26351

Dear Ms. Butcher: Pursuant to the West Virginia Freedom of Information Act (W. Va. Code 29B-1-1, et. seq.),

I request access to the following information: •

All documents related to the settlement in the following lawsuit: 1. Summit Community Bank v. the Clerk of the Gilmer County Commission (U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, case number 10-cv-39). The documents shall include, but not be limited to, the following: 1. The terms of the settlement. 2. The total payout made by the county either through its general revenue fund or a third party. 3. The names of all third parties making said payments. 4. The total payout made by either the county or any third parties to the lawyer(s) or law firm(s) representing the county. As required by the Act, I expect your response within five business days. Should you chose to deny all, or part, of this request, please cite the specific part of the Code for your denial. Once this information is available, I can be contacted at the addresses or phone number below. I thank you, Ms. Butcher, for taking the time to respond to this request. Sincerely, Lawrence J. Smith cc: Charles D. Hess, president, Gilmer County Commission Gerald Hough, Gilmer County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office 5312 MacCorkle Ave., S.W. #238 South Charleston, WV 25309 mslmediainc@yahoo.com (304) 397-6075 (phone) Sent via e-mail, U.S. Mail and fax Exhibit

Click H E R E for actual copy of the Exhibit B – Second Request

22 October 2011Jean Butcher, Clerk
Gilmer County Commission
10 Howard St. Glenville, WV 26351
Dear Ms. Butcher:

Pursuant to the West Virginia Freedom of Information Act (W. Va. Code 29B-1-1, et. seq.), I request access to the following information:

• All documents related to the settlement in the following lawsuit:

1.  Summit Community Bank v. the Clerk of the Gilmer County Commission (U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, case number 10-cv-39).

The documents shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

1. The terms of the settlement.

2. The total payout made by the county either through its general revenue fund or a third party.

3. The names of all third parties making said payments.

4. The total payout made by either the county or any third parties to the lawyer(s) or law firm(s) representing the county.

This is a second request for information.

As required by the Act, I expect your response within five business days. Should you chose to deny all, or part, of this request, please cite the specific part of the Code for your denial.

Once this information is available, I can be contacted at the addresses or phone number below. I thank you, Ms. Butcher, for taking the time to respond to this request.

Sincerely,

Lawrence J. Smith
cc: Charles D. Hess, president, Gilmer County Commission Gerald Hough, Gilmer County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office Wendy Greve, Esq., Pullin, Fowler, Flanagan, Brown and Poe, LLC
5312 MacCorkle Ave., S.W.
#238
South Charleston, WV 25309
mslmediainc@yahoo.com
(304) 397-6075 (phone)
Sent via e-mail, U.S. Mail and fax

Exhibit “C”Click H E R E for actual copy of the Exhibit C – Third Request

11 November 2011Jean Butcher, Clerk
Gilmer County Commission
10 Howard St. Glenville, WV 26351
Dear Ms. Butcher:

Pursuant to the West Virginia Freedom of Information Act (W. Va. Code 29B-1-1, et. seq.), I request access to the following information:

• All documents related to the settlement in the following lawsuit:

1.  Summit Community Bank v. the Clerk of the Gilmer County Commission (U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, case number 10-cv-39).

The documents shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

1. The terms of the settlement.

2. The total payout made by the county either through its general revenue fund or a third party.

3. The names of all third parties making said payments.

4. The total payout made by either the county or any third parties to the lawyer(s) or law firm(s) representing the county.

This is a third, and final request for information. Please be aware willful failure to comply with the Act is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, 20 days in jail or both.

In order to avoid the county incurring additional liability, please provide the requested information no later than Wednesday, Nov. 16.

Once this information is available, it can be sent to me at the addresses below. I thank you, Ms. Butcher, for taking the time to respond to this request.
Sincerely,

Lawrence J. Smith
cc: Charles D. Hess, president, Gilmer County Commission Gerald Hough, Gilmer County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office Wendy Greve, Esq., Pullin, Fowler, Flanagan, Brown and Poe, LLC Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin

Del. Tim Manchin, chairman, House Political Subdivisions Committee Del. Linda Sumner, minority vice-chairwoman, House Political Subdivisions Committee

Sen. Herb Snyder, chairman, Senate Government Organization Committee Sen. Donna Boley, minority vice-chairwoman, Senate Government Organization Committee Sen. Joseph M. Minard, Committee member
5312 MacCorkle Ave., S.W.
#238
South Charleston, WV 25309
mslmediainc@yahoo.com
Sent via e-mail, U.S. Mail and fax

GFP – 12.26.2011
Business | G-Biz™CommunityGilmer CountyGlenvilleCommunityConcerns™Court NewsFeaturesG-FYI™Politics | GovernmentLocal(0) CommentsPermalink

3 comments

  1. ~~~ Readers’ Comments ~~~

    This is a prime example of how elected officials in Gilmer County routinely withhold information from the public to escape accountability. The Commissioners are versed about compliance with the FOIA, but they purposely don’t respond to requests for information knowing that most citizens won’t follow-up to eventually take an issue to court. What a sad commentary when legal action must be taken to obtain information which should be readily available to the public. Commissioners, how do you explain yourselves? This scandal makes it appear as if you have something to hide or you are protecting someone important.
    By Amos Reed on 12.26.2011

    Thank you GFP for making citizens of Gilmer County aware of the actions of our elected officials!

    What a great Christmas present this is for our community!

    Cover ups, crooks, illegal and questionable activities that have been cooked and brewed behind the scenes are now being exposed, as are the perpetraitor’s of these nefarious activities.

    Good job and very well done.
    By keep diggin’ y’all on 12.26.2011

    One Pioneer Drive as the address for the Gilmer Housing Partner’s, LLC? Is that the address of Dr. Barr’s home at GSC? How is it that a private corporation could be housed there with WV taxpayers paying the bills? Is there an expert out there who could comment on the legal and ethical merits of this arrangement? Perhaps Terry and Tim Butcher, Esquires could respond because they have high positions in the LLC. How many other businesses are run out of GSC and subsidized by WV taxpayers?
    By Rob Wilson on 12.26.2011

    To have complied with the FOIA request would have cost nothing except a bit of someone’s pride and some embarassment by the one’s who should have paid that price.
    By not complying how much is this lawsuit going to cost us the taxpayers who should NOT be paying this bill??
    Jus’ wonderin’…
    By Sam A. on 12.26.2011

    One can assume the commissioners and county clerk seek advice from Gerry Hough since he is the county representative. If he has advised them not to comply with the FOIA request, then one can wonder what his reasoning is and why?
    By Albert Sims on 12.26.2011

  2. Great post regarding FOIA, and I had heard the word about y’all down in WV and the great work you were all doing, but I was wondering if you would send me a note by the email provided to you in this comment.

    I’d be grateful if you if would fill me in about specifics inside the courthouse and actually what evidence is available to present that shows officials in Gilmer County have been committing crimes knowingly.

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