The Reporter covers Miller, Morgan and Camden County in Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks and is published once per week on Wednesdays.
Published November 29, 2017
Attorney: Hasty was not told to say Todd ‘stole’
CAMDEN COUNTY – The attorney for Presiding Commissioner Greg Hasty has filed a document with the court stating that Hasty did not receive advice from an attorney to publicly state that Rowland Todd “stole” records.
County Clerk Rowland Todd filed suit as an individual (not as County Clerk) against the three commissioners (Greg Hasty, Beverly Thomas and Don Williams, also as individuals) in March of this year.
Todd is claiming the commissioners violated his First Amendment rights of Freedom of Speech because he spoke out against what he felt was the county wasting money in the hiring of a new HR Administrator and also claims that Hasty publicly called him a thief in that he “stole records” from the Human Resource Department.
Those records were borrowed from Todd’s office by the HR department, which means that Todd is accused of stealing his own records.
In a court document entitled “Defendants’ Supplemental Brief on Discovery Issues Regarding Privilege and Work Product” filed on November 17, by Katherine A. O’Dell, of Baird Lightner Millsap, P.C., a section of the Hasty’s deposition was included where he was specifically asked about the incident.
In an earlier filing that same day by Todd’s attorney Jerry M. Kirksey, he included a different part of the deposition (which has not been made available yet) about this incident.
“Did legal counsel tell you to call Rowland a thief?
A. That’s what they called him.
Q. Okay. And who was the legal counsel?
A. Matt Schelp and Mark Milton.
“Well, at the time you made the statement, you talked to Ms. Christensen, Ms. Thomas, and Mr. Williams and then you –
A. Oh, absolutely, absolutely. I talked to Mark Milton and Matt –
Q. Matt Schelp?
A. Matt Schelp. Those are the last two people I talked to before I made the statement.”
As to whether Hasty was instructed to make the statement:
“Q. (By Mr. Kirksey) Did they instruct you to say that or not, sir?
A. Well, specifically what they said was, ‘You need to get something out to the public,’ and it was being said in the same context as, yeah, he stole
“You’ve told me them. Anybody else?
A. And Harvey advised me that that was theft.”
However, the court filing by Hasty’s attorney appears to make the matter crystal clear as to where the statement that Todd “stole” records came from.
The filing by O’Dell stated:
“While the investigation was pending, Commissioner Hasty’s made a statement to the media that, ‘We have evidence to show, by film, that [Plaintiff] stole records out of Brianna’s office to stop her from being able to do her job.’ In full context, it is clear the term ‘stole’ is used colloquially, emphasizing Plaintiff’s lack of authorization, and malicious motive in taking the records. Commissioner Hasty testified he made the statement after the Investigators told him to release a statement to the public about what was going on. However, Commissioner Hasty clarified that he was not instructed specifically to say Plaintiff ‘stole’ records. After the testimony cited in Plaintiff’s brief, the following testimony continued:
“Q. (By Mr. Kirksey) So I just need your testimony. Did Mr. Schelp instruct you or not to make the accusation –
A. Not specifically.
Q. Okay. Did Mr. Milton instruct you or not to make the accusation that Rowland Todd stole property?
A. They did not.
Q. So the decision to make the statement that Rowland Todd stole property was your decision and yours alone, true?
A. Oh, based on the facts at the time, yes.”
“Deposition of Greg Hasty, 56:20 to 57:4.”
The filing by O’Dell is in response to one by Todd’s attorney asking that the court allow him to have access to what O’Dell claims is privileged conversations between Hasty and his attorneys.
The document ends with another reference to the stealing accusation.
“Commissioner Hasty’s testimony only discloses the fact he was told to make a statement about the ongoing investigation during the same conversation in which he and the Investigators discussed Plaintiff ‘stealing’ records. This does not constitute a broad waiver into communications outside the investigation. Assuming arguendo the testimony constitutes any waiver, the Court should find it is limited to the referenced conversation between Commissioner Hasty and the Investigators regarding the evidence of Plaintiff ‘stealing’ and the release of a statement.”
The case is ongoing.
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