Pee alert. Beverage alert. Hold on to your wigs.
This week’s Mt. Sterling Advocate has produced some of the funniest stuff we’ve ever seen in the ongoing Montgomery County Schools-Joshua Powell saga.
Powell’s attorney, C. Ed Massey, claims in judge Beth Maze’s order of recusal filed in the injunction case she “made inflammatory accusations against” Powell, “including defamatory statements against” Powell’s character and credibility. Massey alleges “Maze’s comments are just an example of the prejudice plaintiff faces in the forum of the Montgomery County Circuit Court.”
Massey asserts Powell cannot have an unbiased trial here.
“It is uncertain if Dr. Powell could get a fair trial anywhere, given the remarks of Judge Maze, which would taint any potential trier of fact. His credibility has already been tainted by the actions of the defendant board, by Judge Maze’s diatribe and by the uninformed public in Montgomery County,” he claims.
Massey alleges in grounds for change of venue motion that the Montgomery County Board of Education “is a far-reaching entity, with members and relatives of members found throughout Montgomery County and its county seat, Mt. Sterling. The board of education has suspended plaintiff, causing the public to lose confidence in plaintiff as their superintendent. Members of the board have voiced negative comments and derogatory statements about plaintiff, creating distrust in the community.”
Cracking up yet?
It gets better:
Massey told the Advocate Tuesday he has also notified the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission about this matter.
“The judge recused herself and rightfully so. However, the judge exceeded her scope and authority by putting her personal opinion and findings in the recusal order. I have discussed this with several legal colleagues and they have never witnessed this type of judicial behavior,” Massey claims.
“The judge acted hearing NO evidence and taking no testimony. The ability of Dr. Powell to get a fair hearing has been compromised,” Massey alleges. “Is this the lesson we really want to model for Kentucky’s students?”
Last we checked, Powell created this situation for himself and caused all of these problems for the taxpayers and students, not Judge Beth Maze.
Folks at the Judicial Conduct Commission LAUGHED when we asked for comment, telling us off-the-record that Maze has received high praise and that this move for Powell by Massey was poorly thought out because rather than keep attention off Maze’s recusal, it draws loads more attention to what she had to say.
Like clockwork, the contents of the recusal were published in the paper — again — giving the entirety of Montgomery County another look at what Powell doesn’t want them to see, hear or think about:
In the order of recusal, Maze said she has a close personal relationship with the former Montgomery County Schools curriculum director.
“Because of this close personal relationship, the undersigned has been privy to information regarding the plaintiff’s conduct. This information encompasses plaintiff’s mistreatment of the former curriculum director, including her removal as director and placement back into the classroom,” Maze claims. She added that she believes the removal of the director is in violation of Kentucky Revised Statute 161.765 and OAG 77-328.
“Knowing these facts and having formed an opinion about the plaintiff’s character and credibility,” Maze said she could not be fair and impartial regarding Powell.
While the paper has done a decent job this week in reporting the latest dose of craziness, it still hasn’t spoken with board members or attempted to get anything beyond what it’s spoon-fed by Powell. Everyone should overlook that momentarily, though, because of the humor the paper brought.
Here’s betting this case harms a school board re-election attempt by Massey in Boone County. Board members there have started reaching out to us in exasperation and embarrassment. (Don’t worry, Ed, we won’t publish those messages, as much as we’d love to. But expect this all to come up during a closed session sometime soon.)
Powell can’t have his cake and eat it, too. On numerous occasions he’s claimed the board has no power or influence outside of meetings. Now he’s having his Ed Massey claim the board has far-reaching influence that has extended across the Commonwealth. Which is it?
Really… filing a complaint against a circuit court judge? Like that’s going to accomplish something? Every judge in this state is aware of the Montgomery County mess. Claiming Powell’s been defamed because a judge spilled the T on his own actions (you know she can prove it)? Hahaha.
Jacqui Johnston is still withholding records in violation of the law. Which is fascinating, considering she’s been advised by the district’s legal folks that it’s, you know, the opposite of legal to do so. Her colleagues tell us she’s slowly cleaning out her office in anticipation of getting the boot.
This is why Montgomery County can’t have nice things.