Former Keyser City Coucilman William Zacot confronts Curtis Perry over accusations
By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - Former Keyser City Council member William Zacot confronted city resident Curtis Perry Wednesday about an ad Perry had run in the News Tribune Tuesday demanding an apology from the council.
In the ad, Perry expressed the opinion that the council should have taken action to remove Zacot from his position on the council earlier, therefore enabling the city to place the vacant seat on the ballot for their July 28 election.
Zacot entered into a plea agreement on felony embezzlement charges on Jan 27. Although he pled no contest, that plea is treated as a conviction in the court system and Zacot was sentenced to two years probation.
He remained on the council until last week, when he gave his letter of resignation to mayor Damon Tillman.
According to Perry, who unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the council in July, “The city council … denied me as an elected runner-up from filling an elective office …” by not removing Zacot and opening up the seat for election.
Perry had also previously lodged a complaint against the council when they appointed Billy Meek, who was also running for a seat on council at the time, to the position vacated by Eric Murphy.
Signing up to speak at Wednesday’s meeting, with Perry present in the audience, Zacot opened by taking responsibility for his actions.
“I’ve done wrong. I admit I have done wrong. Now, what happened has cost me a lot … .
“But I get the newspaper and I see this article where council owes an apology. What does council owe an apology for?” he asked.
Turning to look at the mayor and council, he asked, “Do you guys owe anyone an apology? Does anyone know of any apology being owed?”
As the officials shook their heads, he said, “I didn’t think so.”
“A vacancy on the council is filled either by election or by the mayor picking somebody out. It doesn’t have to be somebody that ran in the last election. It could be anyone. It just has to be approved by majority of the council.”
Going on to quote the line in Perry’s ad that alleged “each city council member permitted the misappropriation of public money for Zacot’s private use,” Zacot asked, “How did any one person sitting up here have anything to do with it?”
Directing his comments at Perry, Zacot said, “You sat outside for three months, praising how everyone was doing good … ‘keep up the good work, keep up the events, keep doing this, keep doing that.’
“You failed as a candidate, so you had to go after a weak link,” he said.
“As far as their removal, they don’t have to remove me. I resigned. So if you’re going to post something, make sure you have all the facts. Because what’s in this,” he said, holding up a copy of Perry’s ad, “ is nothing more than bullcrap.”
Given the opportunity to reply, Perry declined, saying he had not signed up to speak during the meeting.
The council members say they expect to name someone to fill Zacot’s seat at the next meeting, after issuing an invitation for anyone interested in serving to submit a letter to them.