N.Ky. mayor appears before Kenton Circuit Court judge

COVINGTON, Ky. - Villa Hills Mayor Mike Martin is accused of many things, including burning city documents.

Martin appeared before Kenton County Circuit Court Judge Patricia Summe Thursday afternoon to face those accusations.

Judge Summe quickly reprimanded Martin, asking why anyone would think it was OK to burn city documents.

She didn't get an answer from Martin, but she made sure it won't happen again.

Summe stated she would consider any document destruction in the city of Villa Hills as spoiling of evidence in a lawsuit against Martin. She also said no one was using good judgment when the decision to destroy city documents was made.

Thursday's hearing stems from a lawsuit against Martin, filed by Villa Hills Police Officer Joe Schutzman. Schutzman accuses Martin of retaliatory behavior, libel, and slander.

His attorney, Jeff Otis, told 9 News the mayor requested documents be burned. Schutzman found the documents burning in a pit in January. 

Otis wanted to make sure that wouldn't happen again and asked Judge Summe for either injunctive relief, or a restraining order, to prevent more documents from being destroyed.

Martin is also under investigation by the Villa Hills City Council. Council hired the law firm of Taliaferro, Carran and Keys to serve as a special counsel to handle the investigation.

The special counsel is investigating more allegations of retaliatory behavior and comments, misuse of city facilities, and improper disposition of city property. He's also accused of violating open records laws, improper administration of the civil service ordinance, and bidding and purchasing concerns.

The investigation has been completed and will be presented to the public Monday during a special session. Taliaferro, Carran, and Keys will present their findings Monday at 6:30 p.m. at River Ridge Elementary School.

Martin had no comment regarding Thursday's hearing, or the investigation.

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