Busselman filed the petition for removal of Malone from her elected position in April listing several clerical errors and/or incompetency as justification for unseating the county attorney.
The jury’s verdict was the outcome that the county treasurer had hoped for although she said she wished that the petition had never been filed to begin with.
Several of the allegations listed in the original petition were not even presented to the jury because they allegedly happened during Malone’s first term of office and therefore could not be considered by the jury.
“They (the jury) only had three things to consider,” Malone explained. “Whether or not I was competent on doing payroll, bank statements and making timely investments.”
When asked why she thought the county attorney had brought the petition forward in the first place, Malone said she believed Busselman had harbored a grudge or personal vendetta against her going back several years when as mayor of the City of Falls City, Malone voted to discontinue paying Busselman for his services as city attorney.
“It goes way back to 1997 when he was the attorney for the City of Falls City and it was my deciding vote to no longer hold his services as city attorney and hire a different attorney for the City of Falls City,” Malone said.
Malone also mentioned an incident in January of this year when she and Busselman engaged in a verbal altercation because she had challenged the county attorney’s authority to call a special meeting of Commissioners Court.
Malone admitted that mistakes had been made by her office, but she said it is not uncommon for mistakes to happen in any county treasurer’s office or in the offices of other appointed and elected officials. Malone said, however, that in her opinion, these errors didn’t even come close to the level that would justify removal from elected office.
“I think the jury made the correct choice,” Malone said. “I think they looked at the evidence that was there and decided it was just petty stuff.”
Malone’s attorney, Mick McKamie, said he was also pleased with the jury’s verdict.
“I just think the jury saw that this was a trumped up lawsuit,” McKamie said.
The jury was only out 25 minutes before returning a unanimous decision and during that time they had to read the charges, select a foreman and take restroom breaks, McKamie said.
“It is dangerous anytime allegations are made against an honest, hard-working public servant,” McKamie said. “I was really incensed by the filing of the case. It was an astonishing display of poor judgment for the county attorney to file this case.”
McKamie said visiting district judge David Peeples did an excellent job as judge in the case.
“We are going to seek reimbursement from the county for her attorney’s fees and costs,” McKamie said. “There is precedent for that because she is a county official who was sued in her official capacity as county treasurer.”
The Karnes Countywide tried to reach County Attorney Robert Busselman for comment, but phone messages were not returned.