KEYSER - After meeting behind closed doors with their attorney, the Keyser City Council moved Tuesday to “allow our attorney to follow through in accordance with what we discussed in executive session” in regard to the ongoing litigation with former council member Karol Ashenfelter.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - After meeting behind closed doors with their attorney, the Keyser City Council moved Tuesday to “allow our attorney to follow through in accordance with what we discussed in executive session” in regard to the ongoing litigation with former council member Karol Ashenfelter.
Ashenfelter, who was ousted from her seat on the council  in a vote by the four remaining members on July 11, 2018, filed a claim against the council in July 2019 stating that the ouster had violated her civil rights and that the action against her was retaliatory in nature.
In a letter to the council, filed by attorney Gregory A. Bailey of Charles Town, it was stated, “There is substantial evidence that the basis for removing Ms. Ashenfelter was in retaliation for her expressed complaints of serious fiscal misappropriation of town financial resources. “Additionally, Ms. Ashenfelter objected to meetings between town officials that violated the West Virginia Open Governmental Proceedings Act.“
Attorney Scott McClure, representing the City of Keyser, filed a response to Bailey’s letter, saying “it goes without saying that the City of Keyser denies the allegations concerning Ms. Ashenfelter’s removal from council.”
The response went on to say that Ashenfelter had no right to protection under the Whistleblower Act because she was an elected official and not a paid employee of the city.
McClure also stated that, even if Ashenfelter had a right to file a suit, the statue of limitations had expired since she was removed from office.
Mayor Damon Tillman and the four council members met with their attorney via telephone for approximately 20 minutes before coming out of executive session to pass the motion made by William Zacot and seconded by Eric Murphy to allow the attorney to proceed.
Although neither Tillman nor any of the members of council commented on what was discussed during Tuesday’s executive session, the News Tribune was able to obtain a copy of a letter from McClure to Ashenfelter’s attorney which stated, “the matter has been turned over to insurance for handling.”