Thomas E. Lacheney, County Attorney for Greene County has attempted to squash a special grand jury impanelment called for by Greene County Commonwealth’s Attorney, Matt Hardin.
The issue at-hand allegedly involves a member of the Greene County Board of Supervisors who is harvesting valuable “hay” (according to Hardin) or worthless “weeds” (according to Lacheney) from County-owned property.
In a January 30, 2019 e-mail from Lacheney to Hardin, obtained through an open records request, Lacheney claims that the harvester is actually benefiting the county by inadvertently mowing the property in question:
First, please be advised that the county does not grow grass for hay on this parcel. Any growth on the property would be weeds with no commercial value to the county. Our neighboring county (Orange) pays to have the weeds mown on parcels in its industrial park because they are indeed weeds. Greene does not currently pay to have someone mow this large parcel because of the cost involved, but if someone did stray onto the property and mow, they did the County a favor—they did not steal anything from us. [emphasis added]
Prior to Greene County’s acquisition of the subject property, another individual reportedly had been granted hay-harvesting rights by the previous owner. Those rights eventually were terminated following Greene County’s attainment of the parcel.
In a letter to the presiding judge, Hardin questions whether Lacheney faces a potential conflict of interest in attempting to represent the interests of both parties—the potentially offending harvesting Supervisor, and the County (taxpayer) whose theoretically valuable property is being appropriated unlawfully. Lacheney denies conflict as he sees “no commercial value to the county” in the “weeds.”
The case has been submitted to Greene County Circuit Court Judge, Dale Durrer, who upon reviewing evidence has ordered the special grand jury to appear in court on March 7, 2019.