Circuit Court Clerk Karla Allsberry has filed a rebuttal to a document recently submitted to the Missouri Supreme Court on behalf of 45th Circuit Court Presiding Judge Patrick Flynn, which had made claims of possible malfeasance and misfeasance in the Circuit Court Clerk’s office.
Allsberry took up office as Circuit Court Clerk on Jan. 1, 2019. According to Flynn’s document, after Allsberry took office, he became aware of information and conduct where Allsberry had “knowingly and willfully failed to perform certain duties of her office” and committed acts of misfeasance and malfeasance in the performance of her duties.
Flynn’s document states that such conduct constitutes a “misdemeanor in office” under 483.165 RSMo.
One of the instances of said misfeasance and malfeasances, according to the document, was that Allsberry “established a private email,” and that she “used the private email account instead of her designated secured court email to set up access to the circuit court’s bank accounts, receive statements and correspond with People’s Bank & Trust who was the depository of Lincoln County funds in violation of Court Operating Rule 1, which adopted Security Guideline 400.01.”
The document claims that Allsberry had all financial records of the court transferred to her private email account.
Allsberry’s actions on this resulted in the Office of the State Court Administrator (OSCA) revoking her access to the Court Automation System, Flynn’s document states. Allsberry was placed on administrative leave with pay on May 28, 2019, which the response by Flynn suggests was a legal move according to state statutes.
Section 483.165 RSMo states, “If any clerk shall knowing and willfully do any act contrary to the duties of his office, or shall knowingly or willfully fail to perform any act or duty required of him by law, he shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor in office.”
A “misdemeanor in office” is not the equivalent of a criminal misdemeanor, but includes “malfeasance, that is misconduct in the performance of official duties.”
Section 483.170 RSMo states, “When any court shall believe from its own knowledge or from information secured from others given to the court under oath or affirmation, that the clerk of the court has committed some act or acts constituting a misdemeanor in office, the court shall give notice of the charges against such clerk to the attorney general of the state or the prosecuting attorney of the county requiring him to prosecute the same; and such court may by order of record suspend such clerk from office until a trial upon such charge or charges can be had.”
Allsberry’s rebuttal, filed on her behalf on June 19, says, “It is a matter of grave concern that, in his May 28 letter of administrative suspension, Judge Flynn seemed to threaten criminal prosecution unless Relator [Allsberry] resigned from office.” According to Allsberry’s rebuttal, in that letter, Flynn wrote, “This administrative suspension will cease in the event you voluntarily resign from office at any time.”
Allsberry’s rebuttal goes on to say that this threat of criminal prosecution may constitute an ethical violation by Flynn. Her rebuttal begins by noting, “None of the allegations cited by Judge Flynn amount to valid claims against the Relator,” then goes on to provide several exhibits, affidavits and emails as evidence. In his document, one of the points made by Flynn in support of removing Allsberry from office was that Allsberry failed, over a four and a half month period, to remit fines for numerous municipal ordinance violations which were due to several municipalities.
According to Flynn’s document, the cities of Old Monroe, Silex, Foley and Hawk Point were owed sums totaling $45,559.52 and despite numerous calls from the municipalities, Allsberry failed to transfer the funds collected by her office to the cities.
Allsberry’s rebuttal states that Flynn never authorized her as a primary or secondary security point of contact, which resulted in Allsberry never fully having the ability to adequately monitor case or financial data entry on the part of the county clerks.
Her rebuttal says that as soon as Allsberry became aware of a possible problem with payments to the municipalities, she immediately started an investigation into what exactly the issue was.
Another main point in Flynn’s document was the setting up of the personal email, which government business was conducted through.
On this matter, Allsberry’s rebuttal states the Gmail account was set up due to OSCA not setting up her email account properly.
Her name was both spelled incorrectly, and incorrectly shown as being hyphenated.
Allsberry’s rebuttal states that there was no online mishandling or transfer of funds and that if OSCA guidelines were violated, it was not done knowingly or intentionally.
Allsberry’s rebuttal finishes with, “The attorney General would act unlawfully if he brought charges against the Relator if Judge Flynn prosecuted Relator under these facts. For Judge Flynn to even request prosecution on these facts is equally unjustified.”