An employee of the Logan County Commission, Christopher Trent filed a lawsuit last fall over a Freedom of Information Act request for public documents he submitted to the Logan County Development Authority. Now Trent has filed a motion for the presiding judge to recuse.
AM Stone | WVOW News
LOGAN A Logan County employee has filed a motion in Logan County Circuit Court for the presiding judge of a lawsuit to recuse.
Christopher Trent, an employee of Logan County for facilitating grants, filed a motion to recuse Circuit Judge Kelly Gilmore Codispotti from his lawsuit against the Logan County Development Authority.
Mr. Trent filed the lawsuit in late September last year after a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request was not adequately answered.
“The original FOIA was submitted back in August,” Trent said, “and after receiving no response I decided to send a second FOIA.”
Mr. Trent requested bank statements, canceled checks, agendas and minutes of past Authority meetings. Moreover, Trent requested a list of properties owned by the authority as well as the rent paid by renters.
The second request of the documents was answered. Executive Director Rocky Adkins’ response said the request from Mr. Trent was “overly broad.” Mr. Adkins further requested specificity of documents sought.
“The documents requested could be more than a thousand pages of which would exceed your limit of two hundred dollars,” according to the response from Adkins.
Trent reiterated his original request to Adkins and the Authority.
“I basically requested the same documents,” Trent said, “and I asked what questions they had or what do I need to specify. And I never received any response from there. Following the law under state code, I filed a lawsuit in circuit court on September 21 of last year.”
Trent said the Logan County Development Authority never responded to the lawsuit or to the court. Representing himself, Trent filed for default judgment on October 27.
During a meeting of the Logan County Development Authority on November third, Executive Director Rocky Adkins told the attending Chris Trent at the conclusion of the meeting he would have a chance to see the documents.
“What I’d like to do is state to you,” Mr. Adkins said, “the information you’re wanting is available.”
Adkins said at the time, he was compiling the documents and said they were not correctly filed. Adkins invited Trent to arrange a time to view the documents in the coming weeks. Those arrangements never materialized.
Trent filed a new motion Monday, February 13 for the disqualification of presiding Judge Kelly Gilmore Codispoti.
According to Trent’s motion filed with the circuit court, he witnessed Adkins “the sole employee and executive director of the defendant (Logan County Development Authority)” exiting the vehicle of Judge Codispoti’s spouse, former Logan County Magistrate Leonard Codispoti.
Trent submitted another FOIA, this time to the Logan County Sheriff’s Department for surveillance footage from the Logan County Courthouse. The sheriff’s office completed that request on Wednesday, February eighth.
The footage reveals Mr. Adkins entered the vehicle of Mr. Codispoti around 10:48 a.m. the morning of Tuesday, February seventh. Mr. Codispoti returned Mr. Adkins to the courthouse on Jefferson Avenue approximately thirty minutes later at 11:23 a.m.
“Due to this incident,” the motion reads, “the fact that this lawsuit exists between two public employees of the Logan County Commission, and the fact that Motion for Default Judgment was filed October 27, 2022 with no answer thus far, Plaintiff feels it would be beneficial to all parties involved if this matter is transferred to another Court.”
A March hearing date was set the day after the footage was delivered to Mr. Trent, 105 days since Trent filed for judgment by default. The court date was entered on the docket at 10:41 a.m. on Thursday, February ninth, according to the Logan County Circuit Clerk’s Office.
Attempts to obtain comment from Mr. Adkins, Mr. Codispoti and the Judge were unsuccessful.