Todd Walls

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A failed attempt by the former chief of the West Buechel Police Department to get his old job back inadvertently threw back the curtains on a state investigation into his retirement.

Court records show Kentucky Retirement Systems voided Todd Walls retirement in December 2018. Walls left the West Buechel Police Department about a year early and came right back to the force. 

If there was a prior agreement between Walls and the city to hold his position, it violates the state's bona fide separation clause for public employees. Kentucky Retirement Systems oversees those public pensions and warns on its website that if a worker's retirement is voided, the employee will have to repay all benefits received.

The information came to light in a hearing on Feb. 18 where Walls' lawyer tried to get him reinstated as chief.

"There is a big deal, and I did put the appeal letter we had filed on his behalf ... going on with the retirement system about his coverage," David Leightty told the judge in the hearing. "He is exposed to losing a great deal more than simply the income from this."

WDRB News obtained the mentioned appeal in the court file, in which Walls' attorney wrote:

"This action is based on a hopelessly flawed investigation, instigated by a member of the West Buechel Police Department who desired the position of Chief of P and using extrapolations from assumptions that are either twists of the truth, flat out wrong, or utter non-sequiturs." 

Walls was fired Jan. 29 in a one-sentence termination letter. The letter gave no explanation for the decision. Leightly argues the act violated Walls' right to due process, saying he is due a hearing in front of the city council.

"Right now, we are asking the court to hold the status quo: Let Todd Walls stay in the position he was just reappointed to," Leightty said. "Let's do this the way it should be done." 

Leightty sought a restraining order to essentially block the termination and reinstate Walls as his due process claim plaid out in court. But Mark Hall, the attorney for the city of West Buechel, argued that newly elected Mayor Brenda Kay Moore did nothing wrong when she fired Walls.

"The new mayor decided that the city wanted to go in a different direction, and under 83-A-080, she has that right," Hall said.

The judge denied the restraining order, keeping Walls off the force while his claim of a due process violation remains pending. 

Kentucky Retirement Systems would not disclose the outcome of the appeal on Walls' retirement.  Representatives say their legal staff reviewed more than 8,000 re-employment requests last year, and the majority did not result in investigations.

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