Uncooperative House GOP staffers delaying preliminary investigatory report, now due by Dec. 1

11/22/2017 05:15 PM

Middleton Reutlinger, the law firm hired by House Republicans to investigate the circumstances of a sexual harassment settlement reached between some lawmakers and a staffer, said in a memo to GOP leaders in the lower chamber Wednesday that their preliminary inquiry has been delayed because some current and former staffers have refused to cooperate.

House Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne, who is handling operation duties of the speaker’s office after former House Speaker Jeff Hoover resigned after reports of the confidential settlement surfaced, released the memo in a news release.

Middleton Reutlinger said that it expected to have the preliminary inquiry finished by Dec. 1 once lawmakers named in the settlement are interviewed and the firm reviews all available documentation. Osborne, R-Prospect, said in a statement that he will grant the requested extension.

Hoover, R-Jamestown, stepped down from his leadership role Nov. 5, acknowledging inappropriate but consensual communications with the employee. Others who reportedly signed the agreement include GOP Reps. Jim DeCesare, Brian Linder and Michael Meredith, although only Linder has confirmed his involvement in the settlement.

“Most members of your staff and caucus have been extremely cooperative and helpful. There are, however, current and former staff members refusing to cooperate,” Middleton Reutlinger wrote in the memo. “This lack of cooperation has delayed our report and would jeopardize its thoroughness; we hope they will reconsider in the days ahead.”

“We have also reached out to all of the reported parties to the purported Settlement Agreement as well as other third parties to interview them and obtain additional information,” the firm added. “We anticipate several of those individuals cooperating with our investigation within the next week, and their cooperation will greatly enhance the thoroughness of the report.”

Osborne said that he was “very disappointed” that at least two individuals have refused to cooperate with the inquiry to his knowledge and that he would “be addressing these issues in the days ahead.”

“Based on information received to date, we are still considering turning this matter over to another investigatory agency with the power to compel information from key people and witnesses,” Osborne said in a statement. “But we will withhold final judgment pending the report and recommendations from Middleton Reutlinger. We want to thank the members of our staff and caucus who have cooperated with the investigation. Most everyone contacted has been cooperative; it is unfortunate that some people have, so far, chosen not to cooperate.

“I remain hopeful everyone contacted will participate in the preliminary phase of this investigation. New information comes forth with each interview, and it is vital the public ultimately have a full accounting of what occurred.”

Osborne added that House Republican leaders have reached out to lawmakers from both parties in the General Assembly on reforming current processes and procedures related to workplace matters in the legislature.

“We are committed to ensuring the best possible environment for all public servants,” he said.

2 Comments

Comments

  • Ricky Lee Williams Jr. wrote on November 22, 2017 06:23 PM :

    I want every single GOP member and voter to understand what this bunch has done. I don’t want to hear about us being the conservative party. I don’t ever want to hear how thrifty we are. I don’t want to hear how we want to hear all the facts before we prejudge anything, ever again.

    We have several lawyers that signed off on this. Every single one of them knew that this outside legal counsel didn’t have subpoena power. This was nothing but a gift to a law firm. Nothing different than how Frankfort has worked for the last 20 years. The only difference is our people, that we entrusted, did this. They are sitting back just laughing. WE gave our friends a few hundred thousand. What is a few hundred thousand? Let’s keep them on the payroll a little longer. What do you say, Phil Moffett?

    Every member within the GOP General Assembly needs to take a good look at what is playing out right in front of our eyes. This is nothing more than a political coup being perpetrated, not by the democrats, but by our own. I am not defending Hoover, here, but I am privy to inside information, and I am 95% sure who, exactly, is behind this coup.

    There is not a member in the General Assembly that should feel comfortable about this group. There is not a one of you, who is safe, if this bunch wants you gone.

    The current is going out, and I’m not close enough to the beach to see what Gov. Bevin has on. I can’t see Phil Moffett. I can’t see Stan Lee. I can’t see Kim King. I can’t see Kim King’s husband, right beside her. I’m struggling, here, to see Addia. But, I’m getting closer.

    To my brothers and sisters in GOP circles, we have crossed a line, here and there is no going back. Every one of us has been tainted. Again, I’m not defending Hoover. Although, I will say not a one of us, including me writing this or those of you reading this, are without sin. There are those who I see making this out as something it is not, who are swimming naked themselves. If you think for one minute that karma is not that word that starts with a b and ends with a h, well then you better think again.

    Last thing I will say. I have thought, for the last week or so, if I should say this or not. But, I’m going to.

    Rep. Brian Linder is one of the best people I know. He loves his wife. He loves his children, and he is the epitome of what a Christian should be. He doesn’t talk out of both sides of his mouth. What is happening here is wrong. When this all comes out, if it does, you will see that Brian Linder was a victim in all of this. Some of our own has ran with a little story and got Brian, his wife, his children, and his community up in Dry Ridge caught up in this. The Governor has no business asking Brian Linder to resign. Gov. Bevin, either doesn’t have the information or his attempt to pass this pension reform has turned him into an evil, vindictive dictator. Brothers and sisters, I have been on here from the start. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. There are a lot of good people being hurt here, and if we trust the GOP establishment to stop it, we are no better than the Governor and his cronies. Right is right, and we are hurting people, for no other reason than to pass this damn pension deal before the public has time to take a look at what is in it. Bless you. RL

  • Heza Putz wrote on November 27, 2017 10:27 AM :

    Remember when a Hoosier law firm was handed money to investigate Beshear political jobs? A big zero ensued largely because those lawyers were told to pound salt by those they attempted to question without subpoenas. At least this time a Kentucky law firm was handed money.

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