Emails lost


Lawton served as county administrator from 2003-2010, during which time the Board of Supervisors voted to construct the new high school and chose which bonds to use to fund the construction.

State law dictates that records from county governments be maintained and archived. Failure to properly maintain county government records can result in criminal charges. A hearing on the issue is set for this morning (Sept. 2) in Fluvanna County Circuit Court.

The order to meet the deadline was issued at an Aug. 14 hearing in Fluvanna County Circuit Courthouse presided over by Circuit Judge Alfred D. Swersky. Swersky told county attorneys, “you’ve got two weeks to get them, two weeks from today. And I don’t think I have to remind everybody in this room what the serious ramifications are to the county if these things cannot be or are not produced.” The two week deadline set by the judge fell on Thursday, Aug. 28.

At the hearing, one of the lawyers representing the county, Melissa Ann Connor, explained the situation to the judge. “Apparently when he left, his emails were totally cleaned out. We don’t know why. We don’t know who did it. The (information technology) expert for the county has attempted several times to bring those back and resurrect them in some way, shape, or form, and he says he cannot do it,” said Connor in a hearing on Aug. 14. “With regard to Cabell Lawton’s emails,” she added, “we just simply can’t obtain them.”

Those emails, as well as emails from others in county administration and the Board of Supervisors, are just part of the information that was being sought by attorneys representing Davenport & Company in defending a $5 million lawsuit brought by the county against the firm. They were also looking for documentation showing how the county arrived at their calculation of damages in the suit and documentation pertaining to the refinancing of the bonds obtained to support the construction of the high school.

“…with respect to all discovery, they’ve only produced from one custodian, Renee Hoover, the former finance director. They appear to not have collected email from anyone else,” said Tennille Checkovich, an attorney representing Davenport, at the Aug. 14 hearing. “So we’ve had no document production since 2012, and none from any other source other than Ms. Hoover who is not with the county anymore. We’ve asked repeatedly that they do a broader, more appropriate search for documents, and that they produce the documents remaining to this refinancing in 2012, and we haven’t received anything.”

“With regard to the Board itself, several times Mr. Payne has asked the Board if they have emails regarding this,” said Connor in that hearing. “I believe one person had one email they produced.” She pointed to multiple “regime changes” and to limited county resources as reasons for the delay in responding to discovery motions.

Checkovich replied, “…it’s down to really these two issues which are sort of fundamental laws with the way they approach discovery. I mean, I hear what sounds like spoliation. This is all news to me.” She then asked the judge to order the county to produce the emails and other materials.

The next hearing in the Davenport lawsuit will be held on Sept. 2 in the circuit court room at the Fluvanna County courthouse.

Cabell Lawton could not be reached for comment. County Attorney Fred Payne declined to comment.

Related Posts

dewi88 cuanslot dragon77 cuan138 enterslots rajacuan megahoki88 ajaib88 warung168 fit188 pusatwin pusatwin slot tambang88 mahkota88 slot99 emas138