Ellisville Moves to Drop Some Charges in Impeachment Case
Among the removed allegations were charges that Mayor Adam Paul had drunk vodka while on the job.
In the latest twist of the fast-moving political drama taking place in Ellisville, a resolution calling for Mayor Adam Paul’s removal from office has been amended to drop several charges.
The council voted at a meeting Wednesday to remove allegations that Paul used profanity and consumed alcohol during public meetings while dropping the addition of charges that Paul recorded two closed meetings.
The changes were presented by City Attorney Paul Martin in light of recommendations from special prosecutor Keith Cheung and attorney John Maupin during a council meeting Wednesday. The city hired the pair of lawyers to investigate and preside over a hearing later this month that will decide Paul’s fate.
Martin emphasized that the recommendations were not based on a lack of evidence. Instead, they were not “impeachable offenses” under the city’s charter or in one case would delay the proceedings.
In the first case, Cheung and Maupin advised that Paul’s use of profanity during a meeting was not, by itself, impeachable, because it did not alone indicate an inability on his part to control the meeting.
Concerning the alcohol, Martin said they had reached a similar conclusion.
“While it might be offensive, but it is not something that necessarily equates with inability to do the job,” Martin said. “There is no evidence in the charges that the mayor was intoxicated when he was running the meeting.”
Finally, the allegation that he had recorded two closed sessions of the council was actually on the agenda to be added to the resolution at Wednesday’s meeting. The lawyers said the addition of the charges would create “timing issues” by requiring a continuance that would force back the March 27th hearing date.
The move came at the end of a public meeting during which a number of citizens spoke in support of Paul and the mayor himself address the council about several items on the agenda. It sent a wave of shock through the room, prompting an outburst of questions from residents and a surprised Paul.
Along with removing the allegations, the council also voted to push back the hearing that will present the evidence behind them to March 27, by request of Paul’s lawyer.
The two actions, however, do nothing to change the overall trajectory of the political crisis that has dominated the city for the last month.
The resolution calling for his impeachment cites other issues, alleging he disclosed confidential information, attempted to unilaterally end the city’s contract with Martin and exceeded the scope of his authority as outlined in the city’s charter.
After the meeting, Paul said the removal of the drinking charges, which he has vehemently denied, offered him little vindication. His attorney, Chet Pleban, said the damage had been done.
“They put it out to the public under the pretense that it was an impeachable offense, but it’s not and it never was,” he said. “So now, you can’t put the smoke back in the bag.”
Pleban said they would be considering a “variety of issues,” including defamation, to see if legal action would be necessary prior to the hearing.
The council themselves have been quiet on the issue, removing the items by unanimous vote and with no discussion. Absent for the evening was Councilmember Linda Reel, who also missed the meeting last week that suspended Paul for 45 days.