Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Four Eggers Is in the Middle of the Scandal Swirling Around the Ashe County Sheriff

Sheriff Terry Buchanan
Ashe County's Sheriff Terry Buchanan, who was just appointed to his post last January, has been suspended from office and is under indictment for three felonies and three misdemeanors involving his attempt to resist a public records request from the WBTV investigative unit and to cover up what passed between him and the three county commissioners who appointed him to office.

This scandal has been building since last April when WBTV filed a public records request for text messages and emails that passed between Buchanan and the commissioners leading up to his appointment. WBTV submitted a second request in July for additional communications between Buchanan and county commissioner Jeff Rose. Rose promptly lawyered up and refused to release his text messages. The lawyer Rose hired, Ben Hurley, just happens to be a business partner of county attorney, John Kilby.

Meanwhile, the attorney that Sheriff Buchanan hired was being paid out of county money without commissioner approval. Who is that attorney? Why, none other that Stacy C. Eggers IV, the redoubtable "Four" Eggers.

Four Eggers
According to WBTV reporter Nick Ochsner, "It is not clear what the scope of Eggers work for Buchanan is—whether he is representing the sheriff in his individual capacity as sheriff or doing work for the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office—nor what rate taxpayers are paying for Eggers’ services because there is not a contract or engagement letter outlining the legal arrangement, which is standard when attorneys are hired for legal services."

WBTV complained in July that "to date [July 7], the county has withheld text messages sent and received from the personal cell phones of Rose and Buchanan; certain text messages redacted by county commissioners without explanation; and certain emails and email attachments that were withheld with little or no explanation."

The cover-up had begun to get felonious as early as June. Sheriff Buchanan instructed his deputies to "investigate" (intimidate) three county employees who were attempting to fulfill the WBTV records request, principally Ann Clark, who serves as the public records custodian and clerk to the board of commissioners, and two employees of the county's IT department. Assisting the sheriff in this assault on county employees was chief deputy Rick Clayton.

The grand jury, not surprisingly, found the intimidation a clear case of obstruction of justice. (You may read the indictments here.)

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

One word comes to mind to describe Four Eggers' involvement in advising a client who has to respond to a public records request --- rich! He certainly has plenty of public records request experience from Watauga. Of course advice given in private practice may well differ from advice he gave while in the role of County Attorney. Turn over everything! Oh wait, hold back on the embarrassing stuff. Message to Ashe County Sheriff - you're wasting your money. Oh wait, that would be Ashe County taxpayer money you're wasting.

John Sears said...

One intriguing part of this scandal, which has proved difficult to get the facts, is what Buchannon omitted and/or exaggerated about his prior work experience. Specifically, there are many questions about his military service record. What did Jeff Rose know, and when did he know it?

Anonymous said...

Four Eggers has shown himself to be adept at using the law to get around the law.