CHARLESTON – Kanawha Circuit Judge Joanna Tabit dismissed Richwood Mayor Bob Henry Baber claims against State Auditor J.B. McCuskey in his lawsuit after he was put on administrative leave while the McCuskey’s office performed an investigation.
Tabit ruled that Baber had no legal grounds to halt the investigation and that, without the auditor in the case, there was no reasons for the lawsuit to be in Kanawha Circuit Court.
Baber will have to start again in Nicholas Circuit Court.
Baber filed the lawsuit against Chris Drennen, Robin Brown, Sherry Chapman, Virginia McKenzie, Britt Nicholas, Ann Spencer, Charles Tousseing, Glen Weiler and McCuskey on Oct. 23.
He claimed no explanation was given if the purpose of the executive session when the motion was made and he was unable to address the authorization for the proposed executive session because he had not been informed it was going to occur or its purpose.
During the executive session, Brown asked Baber to resign from his office as mayor and, when he refused to resign, Tousseing proposed he instead be placed on administrative leave with pay, which was approved by the respondents and they resumed the regular council meetings where they announced their decision, according to the suit.
Baber claimed during the following days, he continued as mayor as he had prior to the meeting.
On Sept. 25, Drennen identified himself as interim mayor and informed Baber that he would on administrative leave with pay until the outcome of the investigation by the state is completed.
The investigation involves a purchasing card administered by the State Auditor’s office into purchases made or authorized by Baber on behalf of Richwood in his capacity as mayor after the severe flooding in 2016, according to the suit.
Baber claims the purchases occurred over a period from February through July in a total amount of approximately $6,500.
The petitioner, has identified and reported to the state all but approximately $200 of the expenditures with no evidence of wrongdoing, according to the suit.
Baber is represented by Richard A. Robb.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 17-P-399