VILLA HILLS, Ky. - A Northern Kentucky mayor is being accused of doing exactly what a judge told him not to do -- destroy city property.
9 News obtained sealed documents that were sent to Kenton County Judge Patricia Summe Aug. 16.
In them, Villa Hills Attorney Michael Duncan writes shredded documents were found in a city trash can. In the letter, Duncan says Villa Hills Police Chief Dan Goodenough discovered two to three piles of shredded papers from the city building on Aug. 9. Goodenough collected the materials and filed a police report.
"I collected the bag because the city attorney sent a letter to all employees and elected officials stating that were was to be no destruction, shredding of city documents until further notice," Goodenough said in the report.
This came after an investigation uncovered that Villa Hills Mayor Mike Martin burned city documents and violated ethics ordinances. The investigation also found Martin performed electrical work in Kentucky without the proper license, which is a misdemeanor in the Bluegrass State.
9 News talked with Martin at city hall Thursday. He said he wasn't present when the latest documents were allegedly shredded. Interim City Clerk Sue Bree is claiming the shredded materials were her personal documents.
However, in the sealed documents, Assistant City Clerk Kimberly Robbins writes she observed Martin with files all over the floor of his office in late July. She says she heard Martin using the shredder that day.
"There has been document shredding the entire time, it has never stopped," Robbins said in the documents.
Duncan told Judge Summe even though Bree has claimed the shredded papers were her personal property, other city employee statements "may lead to other conclusions."
Duncan wrote that Chief Goodenough is turning the investigation over to an outside law enforcement agency, along with the bag of shredded materials and employee statements. Chief Goodenough did not have a comment.
In an April hearing, Judge Summe ordered no city documents were to be destroyed, and if they were, she'd consider it spoiling of evidence, and interfering with the court process. The hearing stemmed from a lawsuit against Martin, filed by the police officer who found him burning documents.
At the hearing, Judge Summe reprimanded Martin, asking why he thought it was a good idea to burn city documents.
Martin is already facing criminal charges. The city of Villa Hills hired local attorney Phil Taliaferro to conduct a special investigation into the mayor's ethics. The results of Taliaferro's investigation were released in May.
In June, Villa Hills city leaders voted to turn Martin into the Kenton County Attorney's Office.
City council is planning to vote Sept. 5 on whether or not to hold a removal hearing for Martin. A majority of council must vote yes for a removal hearing to be scheduled. If the hearing is held, all six council members must vote yes in order to remove Martin from office.
Several council members have previously asked Martin to resign. The mayor has repeatedly told city leaders and 9 News that he won't step down from office.
On Thursday, Martin told 9 News he feels council members are on a "witch hunt." He says he's not perfect, but doesn't believe he's made mistakes worthy of being kicked out of office. Martin says the latest developments are tearing the city apart and residents don't deserve that.
Signs both supporting Martin, and asking him to resign, have been placed in yards throughout Villa Hills.
City Attorney Duncan told 9 News he couldn't comment on the events in question. Independent Counsel Taliaferro wouldn't confirm or deny whether or not any more document shredding had been going on.
Stay with 9 News and WCPO.com for updates on this story.
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