News Editor, Marshall County Tribune-Courier
Initial steps were taken yesterday to dismiss criminal charges against former North Marshall Water District superintendent Brad Anderson.
Special prosecutor David Hargrove filed paperwork Thursday afternoon, just days before Anderson was scheduled to appear before a jury in Marshall County Circuit Court on one count of theft by unlawful taking over $500.
In the motion Hargrove stated, "while the actions of the Defendant, Anderson, certainly give rise to the question of potentitial ethics violations, if not competence, acting as Superintendent of the North Marshall Water District, it is the Commonwealth's burden to prove that his actions were criminal. Based upon the evidence discovered, the Commonwealth cannot meet that burden and this matter is better served in the Civil Courts."
Hargrove will appear before Judge Dennis Foust on Monday morning to present the motion to dismiss.
Anderson was terminated by the North Marshall Water Board following a 3-2 vote in April after allegations of mismanagement and misconduct by customers, employees and then-board members. Since that time, the Marshall County Fiscal Court has replaced all but one of those board members.
On Thursday night, the new board heard from one of the county residents at the heart of charges against Anderson. Franklin Futrell asked the board for a refund of money he says was paid to Anderson for work done on his property. According to Futrell, a portion of the waterline placed at the time was pipe designated for the county's Water Vision 2020 project.
"I live on Scale Road," Futrell said addressing the board. "In 2009, my well failed. My neighbor's house had been destroyed and his well was still good so I got water from him for a while."
Futrell said that when his own water became usable again, his neighbor's well began to fail. Property owners discussed with the district what would be required to run county lines to the two residences. According to Futrell, the two property owners paid more than $4,200 to have the district run more than 1,200 feet of line.
"I wrote a check to North Marshall Water," Futrell said. "My neighbor wrote a check to North Marshall Water. The next day the superintendent requested of me that I write him a check for that amount and take back the check I had written. The second check was made out to him."
Futrell said he questioned Anderson about the using his own equipment for the work necessary to place the line. He said he was told that was not permissable, so he wrote the check.
"Having discovered through the process of the investigation by the state police into the activities that took place in and around that time, the piping that was extended to my house and my neighbor's house was 2020 pipe," Futrell said. "The counsel that I was given was that I might present this to the board and request a refund of the monies that were paid. Brad Anderson, with his father Terry Anderson, came to my house quite some time after all this was installed, just before the publicity broke. He told me the money had been received to refund the money I had paid. And he attempted to refund me the money."
Futrell said he was advised by the Kentucky State Police to avoid contact with the Andersons. In the weeks that followed, the KSP leveled one charge of theft by unlawful taking, greater than $500 against Brad Anderson.
Anderson was indicted by a Marshall County Grand Jury in January on the charge. Following nearly a year of trial delays, he was scheduled to appear in circuit court Tuesday. In a previous interview with the Tribune-Courier, Anderson's attorney, Charlie Brien, said his client welcomed the chance to present his side of the case in open court.
Now, it appears Anderson won't have that opportunity. Neither Anderson nor his attorney were present at Thursday's water board meeting to dispute Futrell's allegations. The current board allowed Futrell to go over the allotted time for guest speakers, but did not offer any answers.
"Mr. Futrell, I appreciate your telling us this," said board chairman Jerry Miller. "This would probably be better discussed with you in a different forum than this. We need more time."
Miller, who is no relation to Judge Executive Mike Miller, asked Futrell to leave documentation of checks and other paperwork with the board so it could review the matter. Under Kentucky Revised Statutes, the greivance does not meet one of the few exceptions for being discussed in executive session. Unless Futrell files litigation against the district, the allegations will have to be discussed at an open meeting.
Futrell was not given a date on when he might hear back from the board.
Earlier in the week, the Marshall County Fiscal Court had agreed to extend the current contract of superintendent Bobby Gifford. Gifford will continue services to the county as director of the Watervision 2020. Under the approved agreement, the county will pay 30 percent of Gifford's salary, while the NMWD will pay 70 percent.