ELLISVILLE, MO. (KTVI) – There were a lot of 'fireworks' at a meeting Wednesday night, to begin the process of removing Ellisville Mayor, Adam Paul from office.
A Fox 2 News crew fought to get into the meeting but was denied.
The city council suspended Paul and set a hearing for his removal.
Police and the city manager cited the fire code, saying the meeting was too crowded.
People inside said there was room and the Fox 2 crew was at the 6:00 meeting 30 minutes early ... before crowd ... but was not allowed to enter after a 6 o'clock live report just outside of the building.
There was repeated applause, as more than 15 residents spoke in support of the mayor.
More than a dozen residents, most if not all of whom were there in support of the mayor, had to wait to see him after the meeting. The city manager and police did not 'rotate them into' the meeting, so they could have their say, too.
Waited to see him afterward, but were not 'rotated in' to have their say.
'I`ve never ever seen or been a part of something so ridiculous,' Mayor Paul said after the meeting.
The council approved a resolution accusing him of abusing his office: releasing confidential information from closed meetings; using profanity and even drinking vodka at city hall.
Paul emphatically denied ever using alcohol.
'Absolutely not; absolutely not. That`s just absurd. Some of the other allegations are chasing butterflies... I`ve never brought alcohol or drink or mixed. It`s funny my wife gave me a little thermos with ice because it`s more professional to carry. They twisted that into I`m bringing in booze and I`m a terrible monster,' he said.
His attorney, Lynette Petruska, who was booted from a meeting of a special panel of 3 council members last week, said political sour grapes was at the root of everything.
She said Paul was elected in a landslide last April amid the furor over tax breaks for a new Walmart. He was against it.
One of his opponents in that race, Councilwoman Michelle Murray, was on that panel last week, that voted to throw out an impeachment action against the mayor, brought by a resident. She said then, it did not meet the criteria for removal from office.
'I think there is a certain standard it has to meet,' she said then.
The issue then centered on the Mayor Paul allegedly ordering police to remove a resident from a meeting.
Murray, supported the resolution for removal Wednesday night.
She would not say why.
'I`m not going to comment any further. Thanks very much for your time,' she said.
When asked if it was 'sour grapes' about losing the election to Mayor Paul, Murray walked away.
City Attorney, Paul Martin, said this was about more than politics.
'I have nothing against the mayor,' Martin said. 'I respect the passion of the people who support the mayor. I would say that throughout their support, one of the things they didn`t talk about was whether the allegations were true...: what I think about that isn`t important. The question is whether the charges that have been alleged are true. That`s what needs to be answered.'
Petruska said Paul`s opponents on the council were in a hurry to remove him before the upcoming April elections, when they would likely be term-limited or voted out of office.
'They need the kangaroo court to convict him. If they don`t have the kangaroo court then this all goes away,' Petruska said.
Petruska asked a St. Louis county judge to stop Wednesday night`s meeting from taking place, citing 'due process' concerns among others. The judge refused.
She and Paul expected the council to remove him from office after a hearing next month.
They plan to then take the City of Ellisville to court, where they expect a judge to reinstate him; all the while the City of Ellisville racking up six-figure legal fees.
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