"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

First Writ of Mandamus Ever Filed in Christian County

October 24th, 2007 by mopns · No Comments

We recently received this email along with a press release from Mr. O’Gaffney. Mr. Messenger, when you get back from vacation, why don’t you write about this blatant abuse of the Sunshine Law? 

This writ was filed by Ernest O’Gaffney a citizen and resident of Christian county (Billings).
 
It was brought due to the act that the Missouri Revised Statutes state that the County Clerk is the custodian of the records and the Christian County Commission by unanimous vote signed a minute order in 2003 designating the clerk as the custodian of the records, signed by John Grubaugh who is still the presiding Commissioner.
 
To this date, two of the commissioners Tom Huff, eastern district and John Gr, presiding (a majority) have refused to obey either the statutes or their own order. Bill Barnett, the western commissioner, has made a motion to turn the records over to the county clerk, but the motion failed for lack of a second.

What makes this writ so important is that John Grubaugh and Tom Huff are under investigation by the Attorney General at this time for forgery and alteration of the record. A class D felony. As long as they have the records, the records are subject alteration and or plain outright vanishing as we have shown in or briefs.

So the only remedy is an extraordinary Writ.

From The News Muse blog:

Ernie O’Gaffney had at least part of his day in court this morning when Douglas County Judge Craig Carter took under advisement the Writ of Mandamus attorney James Owen filed against the county on behalf of O’Gaffney. The writ, if successful, would compel the Christian County Commission to obey state law and its own resolution by giving custody of its records to County Clerk Kay Brown.

That assumes that the commission is out of compliance with the statute that says the Clerk of the County Commission is the custodian of records. Attorney Todd Johnson argued for two of the county commissioners, presiding John Grubaugh and associate Tom Huff, that they are not out of compliance. He said that Brown has access to all the records as needed.

Brown has contended in the past that she is responsible for the records and cannot adequately fulfill her duties as custodian of those records because she does not have custody of them. She must access the records that sit inside the commission chambers through Grubaugh rather than independently. She does record meetings and take minutes—that began in February when she relieved the commission secretary of those duties. Read more…

Related:

Branson Missouri: Sunshine Law Police

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