WEST BUECHEL, Ky. (WDRB) -- A pay dispute has a West Buechel city councilman suing the city he represents, demanding the money he says he is owed.

In the small claims lawsuit, West Buechel City Councilman Tom Fox said the city is purposely withholding $525 of his pay.

“It’s a mess. I mean, it’s just a mess,” Fox said. “If they withhold a paycheck in bad faith, there’s a statutory penalty.”

Fox was appointed to the West Buechel city council in January to replace Ruth Janie Mosely, who resigned after a WDRB investigation into whether or not she actually lived in the city she claimed to represent.

Council members in West Buechel earn $350 a month, plus benefits, but Fox said he got nothing until he sent Mayor Rick Richards a demand letter on June 5.

“I think it’s intentional, and I think it’s punitive,” he said. “I think it’s retributive, and I think it’s personal.”

Court records say two weeks after the letter, the city turned over a check for $1,250. Now, Fox wants the rest.

“That’s what small claims and district court judges are for,” he said. “If I can’t reach any sort of reasonable agreement with City Hall, then I’ll take it to court, and that’s what I’ve done.”

It’s not the first time a council member and the city of West Buechel ended up on opposite ends in court. In fact, according to court documents, it happened three weeks ago when the city sued councilman Toby Clark for $550 over a parking ticket and an ethics violation.

The case was dismissed.

The continued tensions stem from questions of transparency and financial mismanagement in the town of 1,300. The city hasn’t completed its own audit in three years. The last audit completed by the state uncovered a lack of checks and balances, as well as thousands of dollars that were either unaccounted for or missing.

“The first main question the auditor had for the people of West Buechel was, ‘Are you capable of running a city government?’” Fox said. “And the answer might be no.”

“That says a lot,” countered WDRB’s Gilbert Corsey. “You are part of the people who are running this city.”

“Yeah, it does say a lot,” Fox replied. “But that’s how I feel.”

Neither Richards nor Kim Richards, his ex-wife and the city’s clerk treasurer, were at West Buechel’s city hall to comment on the situation. They did not return calls for comment.

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