A pair of motions filed recently in the ongoing lawsuit against Pike County Clerk Rhonda Taylor over public records allege that Taylor is being tortured in the situation, but counter with an assertion she is using “lame excuses” for not producing requested documentation.
Pike County Attorney Howard Keith Hall, who is representing Taylor in the lawsuit filed against her by Roger Ford, filed a motion Aug. 12 to clarify, enlarge time or dismiss motions made by Ford in the case. Ford has filed numerous open records requests with Taylor’s office and has claimed that Taylor has failed to comply with Kentucky’s Open Records laws and provide the requested documents. In Hall’s motion, he claims that Taylor has provided the documentation requested by Ford, but that he has either failed to sign for the delivery of the records or that some of the documents he requested “simply don’t exist.”
In his motion filed Aug. 12, Hall petition’s the court to either dismiss the case, clarify whether Taylor must provide a second copy of the requested documents, grant Taylor more time to comply if a second copy is required or overrule any request of penalties to be assessed against Taylor because any “oversight” would be “due to the huge volume of requests” filed by Ford.
Hall alleges in the motion that Ford is harassing Taylor with the records requests and that the harassment began in the weeks leading up to the 2018 general election in which Taylor defeated Ford to retain the County Clerk’s office, and continued following the election as retaliation. Hall argues that Taylor has the right, in accordance with Kentucky law, to stop the “harassment” and “torture” she has endured from Ford.
“... (Taylor) has the right to stop the harassment even though she has chosen to try to work through the torture and show her stamina to rise above the conflict. The court should put a stop to this behavior,” the motion said.
In a motion filed in response to Hall’s motion, however, Attorney Jim Vanover, who represents Roger Ford, said all his client wants is for Taylor to abide by Kentucky’s open records laws and opinions issued by the Kentucky Office of Attorney General in the case. Vanover also claims that Ford has not refused to sign for documentation from Taylor.
“All (Ford) wants is for (Taylor), like all public officials, to comply with the law,” Vanover’s motion said. “That is not harassment. That is not disruption. That is not torture. That is the very least that a citizen can expect from a public servant such as the defendant.”
In his motion, Vanover said Taylor is “under the misconception that she can now litigate the issue even though it has already been decided.” The motion said the time for Taylor to claim she is being harassed and to ask the court to stop Ford from seeking public documents has long-since passed.
“If she wanted to claim harassment, disruption of her office, and, as indicated in her motion, ‘torture,’ the time to do that was when the application was made, not a year later after the findings of the OAG had become final and non-appealable,” the motion said.
Vanover said Taylor is using “lame excuses” for not delivering the documentation requested by Ford.
“(Taylor) claims she has already copied all of the documents once, so it is not a burden to ask for an additional copy. We live in a world where documents are readily reproducible,” the motion said. “Technology has evolved. (Taylor) should not be able to assert lame excuses in an effort to avoid her responsibilities as a public official and her duty to comply with the terms and provisions of the Kentucky Open Records Act and the two opinions issued in favor of (Ford) by the Office of the Attorney General.”
Neither Vanover nor Ford offered comments in addition to the motion. Ford told the News-Express that the motion would serve as his response to Hall’s motion. Requests for comment from Hall regarding his motion on Taylor’s behalf were unanswered as of presstime Monday.