LEWISBURG – Two officials in a Greenbrier County municipality are accusing the mayor of attempting to improperly sell town property.
Patrick Roberts and the town of Renick are named as respondents in a writ of mandamus filed by Teresa Fields and Telia Harvey. In their petition filed March 11 in Greenbrier Circuit Court, Fields, a councilwoman, and Harvey, the town recorder, allege a recent attempt by the town to sell a dump truck smacks of nepotism.
According to the petition, the council at its Dec. 3 meeting approved the sale of its 2000 F550 dump truck with hydraulic snow plow and salt spreader. The truck would go to the highest bidder who submitted a sealed bid postmarked, mailed and received by the next council meeting on Jan. 7.
After the notice of the sale was published in five successive editions of both the West Virginia Daily News and the Greenbrier Valley Ranger, Fields and Harvey say the town received a total of seven bids.
However, they allege the highest bid for $6,800 was improperly submitted by Roberts’ brother, Stewart. According to their petition, Fields and Harvey say Stewart Roberts’ bid was hand-delivered by Angie Clutter Lewis, a councilwoman, the day of the Jan. 7 meeting.
At the meeting, Fields and Harvey were successful in arguing the bidding process should be redone since not only Roberts’ bid was improperly submitted, but also because his bid did not reflect the true market value of the truck, the suit says.
After posting notice again in the newspapers for three successive issues, the council said it would consider sale of the truck after accepting sealed bids that were postmarked, mailed and received by Feb. 7. According to the petition, Roberts and one other person submitted a bid by the deadline.
However, they allege, once again, Roberts personally delivered it to town hall by the deadline.
After Fields and Harvey objected to the sale, the council tabled consideration of it until further notice. Though a special meeting was conducted Feb. 18, the council took no action.
According to their petition, Fields and Harvey say at the March 4 town council meeting Patrick Roberts announced the town would proceed to sell the truck to his brother.
In their petition, Fields and Harvey say Roberts and the town not only violated state law by failing to sell the truck at a public auction, but also in moving forward to sell it to a bidder – Roberts’ brother – that failed to comply with the terms in the notice. Along with an order granting their writ, which includes placing a hold on the sale of the truck until a public auction can be held, Fields and Harvey seek recovery of their attorneys fees.
They are represented by Lewisburg attorney Barry L. Bruce. The case is assigned to Judge Joseph C. Pomponio, Jr.
Greenbrier Circuit Court case number 13-C-45