Four officials with the city of Leitchfield are set to give depositions later this month regarding the lawsuit filed by the city’s former insurance provider, according to court documents obtained by Grayson County News.
According to the documents, Leitchfield Mayor Rick Embry, Leitchfield Planning Commission and Board of Adjustments member Steve Kinkade, attorney David Vickery, and Leitchfield City Clerk/Treasurer Lori Woosley will, over the course of Wednesday, Oct. 13 and Thursday, Oct. 14, provide depositions (sworn out-of-court testimony provided by witnesses) at Moulton & Long, PLLC, Attorneys at Law in Elizabethtown, Kentucky in regards to this matter.
The lawsuit, filed in Grayson Circuit Court by Aubrey Beatty’s RMI, Inc. in June of last year, alleges that, after the city of Leitchfield advertised its request for proposals for a full year of property and general liability insurance on Oct. 24, 2019, it violated its code of ordinances, as well as state law, when accepting a provider.
When bids were opened on Nov. 22, 2019, the lawsuit alleges that the city violated its code of ordinances by accepting Kentucky League of Cities’ (KLC) bid (through Kinkade of Kinkade-Cornell) for $213,259.94. The other three submitted bids were from Travelers (through Beatty of Beatty Insurance) for $162,627; Zurich (also through Beatty) for $186,121.21; and Tokio Marine (through Reisz Hayden of EM Ford) for $169,045.06.
The lawsuit also alleges that, when the city later rescinded its original acceptance of KLC’s insurance proposal and accepted a new proposal from KLC and the Kinkade-Cornell Insurance Agency for six-months’ worth of insurance at a cost of $94,982.21, it did not allow Beatty’s RMI, Inc. to offer a proposal for six-months’ insurance and violated the its code of ordinances by soliciting and acting upon a proposal request that was not published through a newspaper advertisement.
The lawsuit also alleges that the city’s approval of Kinkade-Cornell and KLC’s insurance proposal was “improper” in that Kinkade “was in violation of the City’s Code of Ethics” because he is a member of both the Leitchfield Planning Commission and Board of Adjustments, as well as an agent with Kinkade-Cornell Insurance Agency (Count V).
In an address to the Leitchfield City Council in January of 2020, Kinkade said that Kinkade-Cornell is not contractually the insurance agent for KLC — rather it is the agent of record — but, because he serves as a voluntary member of the city Planning Commission, as well as the Board of Adjustments, he must annually address the council regarding the conflict of interest as well as sign a conflict of interest statement.
Additionally, Kinkade said that Kinkade-Cornell receives a commission from the city’s purchase of KLC insurance, but he personally has a fixed salary and it would not affect his salary in any way.
Beatty’s RMI, Inc. is requesting through the lawsuit that the city’s agreement with KLC and Kinkade-Cornell be declared null and void, as well as “an award of damages in an amount to be determined by a jury,” “an award of the attorney’s fees, costs and expenses RMI incurs,” and “any and all other relief to which the plaintiff, RMI, Inc. may appear to be entitled.”
In July of 2020, Leitchfield Mayor Rick Embry read two separate statements — one from the city and one from its Kentucky League of Cities-appointed attorney, Jeff Mando, of Covington, Kentucky — regarding the lawsuit.
Embry’s statement read as follows:
“Recently, the city of Leitchfield was named as a defendant in a civil suit in Grayson Circuit Court. RMI, by and through Mr. Aubrey Beatty, has elected to file suit against the city, Mayor Embry, and members of the council. We have been instructed not to provide comment on the litigation on the advice of our counsel. Our current general liability provider, Kentucky League of Cities, provides outside counsel to defend the city in such actions. The Kentucky League of Cities appointed the highly respected Honorable Jeff Mando to represent us in this matter. Our local city attorney, Earlene Wilson, has stayed in contact with Mr. Mando, and he released this statement to share with you, the citizens of Leitchfield.”
Embry then read Mando’s statement on the litigation:
“Based upon my detailed review of the council minutes, RFP, city ordinances, and governing Kentucky law, the city’s decision to extend its insurance with KLC for an additional six months was completely transparent, justified, and legal, and demonstrated their good stewardship of city resources. Mr. Beatty appears to be a disgruntled bidder, and RMI’s decision to sue the Mayor and council members individually was completely baseless, undertaken merely to intimidate the city’s elected officials.”
In closing, Embry said Mando has filed “a vigorous defense” to RMI’s claims.