Thursday, June 19, 2008

Is Newberry a mayor or just a money-grubber?

When it comes to dealing with city problems, Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry is a hard man to get involved in the process beyond, it seems, just sitting back and collecting attorney's fees.

Despite multiple lawsuits representing potentially millions of dollars in judgements against Lexington taxpayers, Newberry was extraordinarily incurious about what was happening at the scandal-plagued Fayette County Detention Center. In many of the lawsuits, the city is represented by Newberry's law firm Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs.

Newberry stated in a sworn deposition taken in Lexington on March 13 that despite an active FBI investigation, multiple phone conversations he had with federal whistleblower John Vest, and multiple media reports to the contrary he said he "had no reason to believe anything inappropriate was going on there."

One week ago, five people were indicted on multiple counts related to their actions in the Lexington facility. Four of the five are still employed there and the other was transferred out to work in another part of city government.

Further, Newberry said he didn't have any problems with jail administration interrogating staff members upon their return from testifying to the grand jury, but that he didn't think that was happening either.

In an interesting exchange during his deposition, Newberry stated that he had done no investigation of the jail and had no plans to do any investigation. Attorney William Jacobs then asked him if his only plan of action was to defend the lawsuits through his attorneys.

Newberry answered "yes."