Bardstown mayor's future hangs in balance as city council votes - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Bardstown mayor's future hangs in balance as city council votes on whether to remove him

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BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) -- The future of the Bardstown mayor hangs in the balance, as a hearing Thursday could remove Mayor John Royalty from office.

The hearing actually started at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Nelson County Justice Center, and moved slowly throughout the day with very detailed questioning of witnesses.

It all started in November when a packet containing information about fire reports and emails belonging to current Bardstown City Councilwoman Kecia Copeland showed up on the steps of City Hall just days before an election.

In January, the city council hired an attorney to investigate if Royalty had anything to do with that. 

Two weeks ago, the attorney provided the findings of the investigation. He said Royalty was responsible for the information and that he abused his power as mayor to get it. He said that Royalty pressured city employees to lie to council members. It also says Royalty tried to influence the outcome of the election with those packets. 

During Wednesday's hearing, witness Ken Ables said Royalty showed him some documents, including a copy of an e-mail from Copeland, in the packets during a casual conversation at Huddle House. Ables said he did not know Royalty's intention when he was shown the documents, but he did say Royalty told him he wanted Copeland to be replaced on the council in the upcoming election.

The longest testimony of the day was from Bardstown IT supervisor Brandon Brewer. He said Royalty told him to lie to the city council about a security upgrade for council members' iPads, so that Royalty could look at Copeland's iPad specifically.

Brewer said Royalty wanted to review the contents of Copeland's Gmail account.

Royalty's attorney argued that it was his administrative prerogative to look at the contents of those iPads. 

"If you sync up your personal devices to your government accounts, you run the risk of public disclosure of those items," said Jason Floyd, Royalty's attorney.

"Embezzlement, sexual harassment, intoxication on the job: Those are the types of things mayors get removed for. Not for confusion over iPad e-mail accounts," Floyd said.

At some point, Royalty is expected to give his side of the story. Attorneys will present his side of the case Thursday morning.

After all of the evidence is presented, the city council will then vote on whether or not to remove Royalty. State law requires a unanimous vote to make that happen.

Related Stories:

Investigation alleges abuse of power, other charges against Bardstown Mayor John Royalty

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