The complaint below was written by local business owner Theresa Townsend regarding McElyea’s actions as county attorney. The complaint was sent to the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel Monday morning.
To Whom It May Concern:
On March 18, 2014, after having set up an appointment the previous week, I went to the Camden County Clerks office to view the billing records of Charles McElyea, the Camden County Attorney for the year 2013. I filled out the appropriate request paperwork and was given the file and a place to sit and review it. During the course of this review, the door to the County Clerks office burst open and Rowland Todd, the County Clerk, took the files from my hands while bellowing out “if you post any of the pictures you took (of those public records I was reviewing) to the internet, Charles McElyea will sue you!!”. I was alarmed by this large, red-faced man threatening me with a lawsuit by the County Attorney with regard to the Public Record of his billing statements.
In my opinion, having been Camden County Attorney for many, many years Mr. McElyea should have been aware of what information his billing records contained and conformed them properly or let the clerk know what was NOT public record under the law.
Mr. McElyea now contends that he did not threaten me, even though there were several witnesses to this threat. He either threatened me, a taxpayer who went through proper legal channels, for viewing public records or he threatened the county which would represent a conflict of interest to his continued employment by said county.
I was contacted by a representative of the State Attorney Generals office regarding this matter. It would seem Mr. McElyea was so concerned at what my reaction might be, he CALLED that office the very next morning to tell them that I was lying!! I had not even registered a complaint over the issue with that office!
In addition, I have found that our Planning & Zoning Commission and our Board of adjustment are seated illegally and have been for SIXTEEN YEARS!! We were a Third Class county in 1994 when the voters voted in Planning & Zoning. In 1998, we became a First Class county. The ULC was not adopted until June of 2004.
According to rsMO 64.120, the Board of Adjustment is to be made up of the County Commissioners. According to rsMO 64.020, the Planning & Zoning Commission is to have one County Commissioner (64.020). This means ANY decisions that have been made by these boards have been illegal and therefor subject to lawsuits should the aggrieved parties wish to pursue this course of action.
In an e-mail dated 2/19/2014 the County Commissioners were made aware of this concern. Mr. Luber stated that Bev Thomas told him that Charles McElyea had said that because we had been a Third Class county when we voted in Planning & Zoning that this was legal & proper. However, according to rsMO 48.050, Any office which may be established as a result of the change of the county from one class to another shall be filled in accordance with the provisions of the law relating to the filling of vacancies for such office.
Mr. McElyea should be reprimanded and heavily fined (with the fine going to a general legal relief fund for the taxpayers) at the very least for his conduct and, I personally feel he should be dis-barred as his actions were deliberate and a man with his years in this field should be well aware that what he was doing was illegal. He has stated he “is to advise the County Commission and office holders on ways not to get sued.”; he should certainly know that threatening taxpayers for viewing public record OR the county he is employed by that this is certainly NOT a way to avoid a lawsuit; nor is allowing an illegally seated board or commission to continue for SIXTEEN years!!
Certainly Mr. McElyea’s behavior is NOT commensurate with what we expect from our County Attorneys who, in my opinion, should be held to a higher standard of ethics and behavior.
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