Follow the WDRB Newsroom, Reporters and Anchors.More >>
Tweets from the WDRB Newsroom, Reporters and Anchors.More >>
FRANKFORT, KY (WDRB) -- Key lawmakers are calling on the Kentucky State Police to investigate why a former legislative director shredded documents inside the Capitol after resigning.
The shredding was performed Sunday by former Legislative Research Commission Director Bobby Sherman, who was assisted by current LRC staff, a staff memo states. Sherman resigned after an internal review found no wrongdoing in how his office handled sexual harassment complaints filed by two LRC staffers, who claim they were harassed by former Rep. John Arnold.
Arnold has since resigned. Sherman's resignation took effect Friday, but he returned Sunday to shred documents, the memo states. The current LRC deputy director, Robert Jenkins, told WDRB News Wednesday that no documents related to the ongoing sexual harassment complaints or investigation were destroyed.
But that hasn't quashed concerns for Thomas Clay, the attorney representing Yolanda Costner and Cassaundra Cooper, two of three women who filed the complaints alleging Arnold touched them inappropriately or made lewd comments.
"Did Mr. Sherman as a former employee start shredding documents or did somebody in the legislature approve his conduct? There a lot of questions out there about the timing of this destruction, who authorized it and the extent of it," Clay said in an interview Wednesday.
LRC's Deputy Director Robert Jenkins and Roy Collins, the assistant human resources director at the LRC, both claim that no documents related to the ongoing sexual harassment investigation were destroyed. Collins states he was there when the shredding occurred.
In letters dated Sept. 25th, both House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D - Prestonsburg, and Minority Floor Leader Rep. Jeff Hoover, R - Jamestown, requested that Kentucky State Police investigate the matter.
In a lengthy phone interview with WDRB, Jenkins said the types of documents that were shredded were duplicate copies that included:
- LRC memos
- salary requirements and recommendations
- requests for out-of-town meetings by lawmakers
- "junk" mail
Despite that explanation, Jenkins refused to allow WDRB to videotape Bobby Sherman's old office or the shredder that was used.
Roy Collins told WDRB that shredding documents on the weekends after a staffer has resigned "is a rare thing." Collins added that he could not recall another time during his tenure when that occurred.
Sherman did not return repeated calls seeking comment.
"I am very suspicious about the motives that Mr. Sherman has advanced and the content of the documents that was shredded. I see no legitimate purpose for those documents being shredded," Clay said.
Collins echoed Jenkins' previous statements saying: "I can categorically state that no documents (related to that matter) were destroyed in any way, shape or form."
Clay isn't satisfied with those answers.
"I believe that Mr. Sherman either had documentary evidence or personal knowledge of inappropriate activity on the part of elected officials," Clay said.
Jenkins said he welcomes the state police investigation, and offered up that there are "morale issues" within the LRC as a result of these complaints against Arnold.