LETTER: Shepherdsville city council members demand 'solution' fr - WDRB 41 Louisville News

LETTER: Shepherdsville city council members demand 'solution' from mayor facing prostitution charge

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Mayor of Shepherdsville may be out of a job by the end of the day.

The city council wants Mayor Scott Ellis to step down due to the prostitution charges he faces. Investigators say Ellis made promises to three women in exchange for sexual favors. 

WDRB News obtained a letter, dated Aug. 6, sent to Ellis in which five of the six city council members say the notorious news and publicity is extremely damaging to the city. 

Click HERE to view a copy of the letter.

"Understandably, the return of the Grand Jury's indictment last week has been a traumatic experience for you and your family," the letter to Mayor Ellis states. "We sincerely regret this has happened, however, it is a direct consequence of your conduct and behavior. The notorious news and publicity has been and is extremely damaging to our City and the people of Shepherdsville and Bullitt County. Many are outraged and demanding action. This simply should not continue as it is certainly not in the best interest of any of us to drag out indefinitely."

"Therefore, the undersigned members of City Council respectfully request you provide us a letter detailing your answer and solution for this situation," the letter continues. "In a public meeting, we request a statement be made to separate the City Council, departments and employees from the allegations pending. We ask for your response to this request no later than 4 p.m. on Monday, August 10, 2015."

Tonight those leaders plan to introduce a resolution calling for the Mayor's resignation. One of those leaders is councilmember Bernie Brown.

"I think this has been an embarrassment to the city, I sure do," Brown said. "We're going on the assumption that he is innocent until proven guilty, but the events that have been occurring and the notorious news is very disturbing and have not been good for our city -- and we think it's time that some of this be brought to an end somehow."  

Ellis denies the allegations. 

The public reaction is mixed.

"Absolutely needs to resign," said resident Edie Harden. "He needs to be ethical and an example for the community and follow the laws."

"If he's proven guilty, then release him then, but until then he should stay the Mayor," said Desiree Bivens, another resident. "I think he's a good mayor he's done the city good."

To some end, this is political posturing: the council can't force the mayor out -- and the Mayor now says he will not attend Tuesday's council meeting, citing a family issue.

"We have no basis for impeachment," said Brown. "Like I say: innocent until proven guilty."

Gloria Taft was the only Shepherdsville city council member not to sign the letter. Taft did not reply to our request for comments.

WDRB began investigating this story eight months ago, about the same time the Bullitt County Sheriff's Department began investigating the case.

Last month, a grand jury reported its findings, indicting Ellis on one count of soliciting a prostitute, a misdemeanor.

In the meantime, investigators say there are hundreds of pages of text messages allegedly between the mayor and an alleged victim. The Sheriff's Department has been investigating Ellis for allegations of official misconduct. They say he made certain promises in exchange for sexual favors.

Mike Murdoch, the Sheriff's Department spokesperson said "We have three females that have come forward that have brought forward sexual allegations involving his public office."

The Sheriff's Department says out of the three alleged victims, one is a woman on parole, who he promised to get a pardon from the governor. Another is a former employee. The Sheriff's Department says the third woman is also a former employee, but says Ellis propositioned her and she refused.

WDRB has talked to the alleged victims who say they want Ellis to be prosecuted. Some of the alleged victims said they felt like they had no choice, but to comply with his orders.

In June, one of the alleged victims filed a discrimination lawsuit against Ellis and the city, claiming Ellis repeatedly sexually harassed her, offered to take care of her "if she wanted to trade for sexual favors" and later fired her.

Some Shepherdsville City Council members raised concerns earlier this year. Bernie Brown, a Shepherdsville City Council Member said, "And if the allegations that have been made are accurate and true, I think the honorable thing for him to do would be to resign."

After Ellis' indictment last month, we went to his city hall office. 

"I'm here to see Mayor Ellis," said WDRB's Valerie Chinn.

"He is not here," said an employee. "He went home for lunch."

So we went to his house and before we got to the door, Ellis had a reply.

"I have no comment," Ellis said.

Authorities say time will tell what will happen next.

"Soliciting prostitution -- obviously the grand jury thought there was enough to charge him with that, so we're just going to have to see where it goes from that, and on into the court system," said Scotty McGaha, of the Bullitt County Sheriff's Department.

"What shocked you the most about this case?" asked Chinn.

"I don't think anything really shocks me anymore with cases," said McGaha. "But knowing the person and that, it's difficult to think something like that could happen. But in today's times, you never know."

"We are still doing some investigation," McGaha said. "It's not over. There obviously could be more charges on down the road, but right now that's what we presented to the grand jury, so we'll just see from here where it goes."


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