Southeast Bullitt Fire Department sues fire district over voidin - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Southeast Bullitt Fire Department sues fire district over voiding contract

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LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) -- The Southeast Bullitt Fire Protection District improperly voided a contract with the department hired to provide protection services, according to a lawsuit filed Friday.

The Southeast Bullitt Fire and Rescue Department has asked a judge for an injunction to prevent the district from hiring any other departments and instead “maintain the status quo," according to the suit.

A hearing has been set for Jan. 30 in Bullitt Circuit Court.


District attorney Maurice Byrne called the lawsuit "completely without merit" and said it does not affect the ongoing advertisement for bids for fire protection.

"We don't look forward to spending any more money and time on these red herrings," he said in an interview. "Southeast Bullitt Fire Protection District citizens and taxpayers deserve and will receive better than this."

The lawsuit claims embattled fire chief Julius Hatfield resigned from the district board in December under “political pressure brought by accusations of alleged wrongdoing including mismanagement, fraud and civil rights violations.”

The sheriff's department and others have said Hatfield is under investigation for abuse of public trust, intimidating a witness, bribing a witness and insurance fraud. Hatfield has not yet been charged with any crimes.

In the lawsuit, Hatfield denies the allegations against him and claims he later rescinded his resignation.

And, according to the suit, a specially called meeting by the district board earlier this month, which included voiding the contract with the southeast fire department, was improper, in part because Hatfield was excluded. Also, the suit claims the "special" meeting was not called by a majority of the board members.

The board has breached its contract with the department, which has served Bullitt County for 35 years, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit is seeking unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

The district has set a Feb. 2 date for soliciting bids for fire protection, according to the suit.

The district collects property taxes from residents and passes essentially all of the money to the department, which provides the fire service under a contract with the district.

Hatfield is being investigated by several agencies and is currently on paid leave.

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