It was brought to the attention of the Fiscal Court at their regular monthly meeting on Friday that the investigation into the residency of Jailer Darwin Dennison has returned evidence that he does, indeed, meet the residency requirements of his position.
The Commonwealth’s Attorney, David Williams, presented County Attorney Clay Ratley with a letter stating such prior to the December 21 meeting. Ratley, in turn, presented the letter to the members of the Fiscal Court.
The investigation, which was carried out by Kentucky State Police Post 4, began after a small group of citizens represented by Glefus Stevenson, Marshall Moutardier and Bill Sells, made accusations at the September Fiscal Court meeting that Dennison was living in Edmonson County.
At the time, the group was referred to Ratley on the legal issue which had the potential to result in an elected official being ousted from office. KY state law requires any elected official to live in the district where they were elected for their entire term.
Ratley researched the matter and directed the complaint on to Williams, who contacted KSP over the accusation.
KSP Trooper Curtis Mouser conducted a lengthy investigation into Dennison’s residency, which Williams called “very thorough.”
Among the evidence gathered were various photographs, a number of interviews, utility bills, PVA records, vehicle and license printouts, and real estate listings.
Williams explained that the findings indicate that Dennison, who owns property in both Grayson and Edmonson Counties, resides primarily in Grayson County and is thus in keeping with the requirements to be an elected official in that county.
Mouser’s report indicates that Dennison’s house at 4207 Sinks Road, in Caneyville, has been listed for sale with real estate agent Irene Butler since 2011, according to testimony from multiple individuals.
Dennison explained in an interview in October that he fully intends to sell his home, at which point he will retire and move to Edmonson County to a property which he and his wife own on Morgantown Road. However, he asserted, they now have as their primary residence the Sinks Road home.
The Morgantown Road property, Dennison said, is currently being renovated, and is used by him and his wife, Rochella, on weekends and occasionally Wednesday evenings. He explained that he and Rochella attend Pleasant Union Church, which is across the street from the house, and that her mother is also in a nursing home in Brownsville, so spending weekends there is often convenient.
Mouser interviewed a number homeowners at the properties neighboring the Morgantown Road home, and his report indicates that while none of the neighbors knew the Dennisons very well, they all told him that the couple is only occasionally present at their Edmonson County home and that they live elsewhere.
Utility statements provided to Mouser by the Dennisons showed that these utilities are in use at the Sinks Road home and have been continuously in use for at least several months.
Earlier in the investigation, Mouser was made aware that a leaked email between the Dennisons’ real estate agent and another local agent, Priya Elmore, of Busy Bee Realty, was being touted by Dennison’s accusers as evidence that he did not live in his Grayson County home.
The email, which reportedly stated that the home was “vacant” was the topic of an interview Mouser conducted with Butler. During the interview, Butler explained that she meant simply that they would not be at the home during the viewing that she was scheduling with Elmore, who told her she represented a potential buyer.
Butler expressed to Mouser that “Elmore shouldn’t have sent this email to anybody,” and that she “doesn’t work with her guard up all the time.”
Butler said that Elmore, who is the niece of Stevenson, one of Dennison’s accusers, told her afterward that she had forwarded Stevenson the email, which was later published on K105’s website.
Mouser was told by Stevenson in a separate interview that he accompanied Elmore into Dennison’s home at the scheduled showing, at which time he took photographs of the residence. Neither the Dennisons nor Butler were present at the time, as is the common practice with such real estate showings.
Mouser’s report indicates multiple times that he asked Stevenson and Moutardier for evidence pertinent to the case, which they indicated that they had. No evidence was ever received from either of the men or anyone else which would indicate that Dennison did not primarily live in Grayson County.
The investigation is still listed as open, and Mouser states that evidence will still be accepted.
Based on the available information, however, it is Williams’ opinion that his office does not need to move forward in the civil matter, and that there is no reason Dennison should resign or be removed from the position of jailer.