The grant writer for three Clay County government entities has been indicted by the Clay Grand Jury.
Pamela Mathis, 48, was charged with forgery 2nddegree and official misconduct 1stdegree, according to an indictment filed on July 1stin Clay Circuit Court.
Mathis is employed by the fiscal court, board of education and city of Manchester as a grant writer.
The indictment states that on or about March 19, 2019 Mathis committed the offense of Forgery in the second degree when, with intent to defraud, deceive or injure another, she falsely makes, completes or alters a written instrument, coerces another person to falsely make, complete or alter a written instrument, which is or purports to be or which is calculated to become or to represent when completed a written instrument officially issued or created by a public office, public employee or governmental agency, when she created a document regarding the replacement of a bridge.
The indictment did not specify where the bridge was located, but sources say it involves a road on Elk Creek that has left residents without access.
Count two of the indictment, official misconduct 1st, says she had the intent to obtain or confer a benefit or to injure another person or to deprive another person of a benefit, she knowingly refrained from performing a duty imposed upon her by law or clearly inherent in the nature of her office, when she submitted a letter which purported to be from Gregg Ladd approving the replacement of a bridge.
Gregg Ladd is an attorney for the Department of Local Government in Frankfort.
Witnesses in the case included Ladd, county road foreman Tom Beatty, disaster of emergency services director David Watson and Mathis.
The road on Elk Creek has been washed out since February of this year leaving a school bus stranded and unable to come across. Several homes are located in the area. It was originally thought the road was a county road, but records indicate it is not. The fiscal court, along with county attorney Joe White, has been in discussion during recent court meetings about what could be done to help fix the situation and bring relief to the families affected.
According to court records, no money has been spent and no work has been done to repair the road.
The following is the response from Mathis' attorney Yancey White on the allegations against his client.
Attorney Yancey White says his recently indicted client did nothing wrong and was simply doing the job she was asked to perform. White is making reference to county grant writer Pam Mathis and the indictment she now faces on charges of forgery 2ndand official misconduct 1stdegree.
The attorney says he fully believes Mathis is innocent of the accusations against her.
“As Pam’s attorney I believe she will be fully vindicated, and that these charges will be dismissed because she did absolutely nothing wrong,” he said. “She was doing her job.”
Mathis is being accused of falsifying a letter in regard to a bridge for a road on Elk Creek. The road washed out the tile/bridge in February leaving several families stranded and a 30-plus passenger school bus on the other side whose driver lived in the area across the creek.
According to White the school bus is still stranded, and the families are without access to emergency fire and ambulance services should they be needed.
The road issue has been an ongoing discussion since March with the Clay Fiscal Court trying to determine if they can legally spend county funds to repair the bridge. According to White the road and bridge has been used by multiple families in the area for more than 50 years and should constitute a public road and be taken into the county road system. White says the aforementioned bus crossed the bridge daily to pick up the children who lived across the creek.
White says Mathis, as a county employee, was doing her “due diligence” to find out if county funds could legally be spent in an emergency situation to help families that were suffering from flood damage that had washed out the bridge.
According to White, the county judge-executive had asked Mathis to contact Senator Robert Stivers and the legal division for the department of local government to find out if county funds could be legally spent to repair the bridge. Due to those efforts, Mathis contacted attorney Gregg Ladd to seeking his opinion on whether or not county funds could be used.
White said the contact with Ladd was made in a phone call and the document she is being accused of forging was nothing more than a summary of the conversation she had with the Ladd, attorney for the Department of Local Government.
According to White, it was Mr. Ladd’s oral opinion that county funds could legally be extended to repair the bridge.
“Common sense tells anyone that this document was not a letter nor was in drafted under false,” he said. “There is no signature on this document, nor was the document printed on county letterhead or any other official stationery. This document simply contains Mrs. Mathis’ recollection of the content of the conversation with Mr. Ladd and Mr. Vaughn Murphy who is also an attorney with the Legislative Research Commission and was consulted with in regard to the legality of expending county funds to make these repairs at the suggestion of Senator Robert Stivers.”
White says he feels the indictment has ‘no merit’ and lacks a legal foundation.
“It absolutely does not have any merit and lacks any legal foundation,” he said. “This document is being portrayed by the prosecution as a letter when in fact it is not a letter at all nor does it qualify as a written instrument under the statute. It has no signature and only commemorates the people she talked to and the conversation she had with them. There clearly was no intent to commit fraud and most importantly there has not been one red cent of the county’s money spent on this project. In fact, there is still a $100,00 school bus is still stranded across the creek paid for by county tax dollars and the families still do not have access to emergency medical or fire services if needed.”
White says it is a travesty of justice that Mathis is being forced to defend herself against allegations of criminal conduct when the only thing she was doing was trying to make sure the county properly followed the law, not broke the law.
White says his client will be arraigned on the charges in the near future.