Legal Matter against Twigg Gillespie Phelps and Abuismail, Part 1

The Edwards Law Firm announced a legal matter on behalf of Makalia Keyes against school board members Gillespie, Phelps, Abuismail, and Twigg. The announcement contains errors in logic and is clearly political in nature. Let’s look at some of the statements in the announcement.

“The Edwards Law Firm PLLC has been retained to conduct an ongoing, independent legal investigation of the Spotsylvania County School Board regarding alleged violations of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), employment, and education law”

After reading the letter, there is hardly anything independent about this. It is silly to argue that an independent investigation is being conducted when in the very first sentence of the announcement it states that Makaila Keyes is taking on the school board.

A formal recall action will be pursued against any members whose conduct suggests neglect of duty, misuse of office, or incompetence in the performance of duties, such that the School Board’s duty to serve the best interests of the students and community has been materially compromised.

In Virginia, the process to recall an elected official is nearly impossible. There needs to be at least 10 percent of the votes cast to sign a recall petition and a circuit court judge must determine if there is merit with the recall. It is our understanding that the only time a recall election was successful was back in 2010 with the removal of a mayor in the Hampton Roads area. Judges generally dismiss these petitions because the motive is clearly political rather than criminal in nature.

The School Board has been properly notified of our intent to file suit on behalf of petitioner and former Spotsylvania County student, Makaila Keyes, age 19.

This law firm just said that that they are conducting an “independent legal investigation”. This directly contradicts the intent to file a lawsuit

Kirk Twigg willfully and knowingly violated Ms. Keyes’ rights when, against the warnings of certain colleagues, he chose to: (1) Propose, push, and pass a substantially and materially altered meeting agenda without an opportunity for public inspection

The agenda can be changed at the start of the meeting. Ms. Keyes does not have a right to prevent the agenda from being changed. In Virginia Code 2.2-3707 F, it states that the “proposed agenda and all agenda packets and, unless exempt, all materials furnished to members of a public body for a meeting shall be made available for public inspection…………” The key phrase is “proposed agenda”. A final agenda does not have to be supplied ahead of the meeting. In other words, you can change the agenda.

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