Shepherdsville City Council members file lawsuit over appointmen - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Shepherdsville City Council members file lawsuit over appointment of new mayor

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The Shepherdsville City Council meeting held Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, shortly after the resignation of Mayor Scott Ellis. The Shepherdsville City Council meeting held Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, shortly after the resignation of Mayor Scott Ellis.
Shepherdsville City Council members walk out of the meeting Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in protest of the remaining council members' proceedings to appoint a new mayor that night. Shepherdsville City Council members walk out of the meeting Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in protest of the remaining council members' proceedings to appoint a new mayor that night.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A new lawsuit alleges some Shepherdsville city leaders illegally elected a new mayor. This comes after former Mayor Scott Ellis resigned over a sex scandal investigation.

On Feb. 9, two Shepherdsville City Council members, Larry Hatfield and Bernie Brown, walked out of a heated council meeting. Both men refused to vote on a new mayor.

Now they're suing three other council members, Ashley Bratcher, Gloria Taft, and Dana Bischoff James, along with newly appointed Mayor Brian James and former Mayor Scott Ellis.

“They've chosen to ask a judge to determine whether or not it was appropriate to handle it the way that it was,” attorney Mark Edison told WDRB News.

Hatfield and Brown's attorney, Mark Edison, said a majority is needed to appoint a new mayor, but only three out of six council members were present for the vote.

The dilemma stems from Ellis resigning amid an investigation of him allegedly offering women favors in exchange for sexual acts. When he submitted his resignation on Feb. 9, Edison says no action was taken at city council, meaning he could still technically be mayor.

Regardless, Bratcher, Taft and Bischoff James appointed Dana's husband, Brian James, as the new mayor just hours later.

“The way it unfolded tonight in the meeting, that was not the way it was supposed to unfold,” Brian James said after the meeting.

“You've got six people on the city council that are at least experienced with what's going on in the city, and you pick someone ultimately who's not on the city council, not been involved in city government,” Edison said.

Edison said his clients have nothing against Brian James, they just want to make sure his appointment as mayor was legal.

“If the judge says everything was done properly, then they'll proceed on accordingly. If the judge says it wasn't done properly, then hopefully the council, the entire council, will proceed according to what the judge instructs."

Edison adds the defendants have 20 days to file a response.

Hatfield and Brown say they're hoping for a quick hearing so they can get back to normal city business.

Related: Shepherdsville Mayor resigns amid sex for favors investigation, new mayor appointed

Related: Hours after Scott Ellis resigns, Shepherdsville City Council elects new mayor

Copyright 2016 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2016 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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