Former Gould Recorder-treasurer sues city, Gould mayor

STAR CITY — Former Gould Recorder-treasurer Pamela Barley-Gibson filed a lawsuit Friday in Lincoln County Circuit Court against Gould and the municipality’s mayor, Earnest Nash Jr., contending breach of contract and tortious interference.

Judge Robert “Rob” Wyatt of White Hall was assigned to hear the case, Deputy Circuit Clerk Cindy Glover said. No answer has been filed by the defendants.

Nash, contacted by The Commercial, would only state that “Gould is trying to be stable and move forward,” referring questions to the Gene E. McKissic and Associates law firm of Pine Bluff. McKissic said he had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment.

The suit was filed by Amos J. Richards of the Holthoff & Richards LLP law firm of Fayetteville.

Barley-Gibson was appointed recorder-treasurer in early 2012 by the Gould City Council after Mary Prewitt resigned the post, contending Nash had intimated her. The suit said the annual salary for the recorder-treasurer was $21,000.

Nash vetoed Barley-Gibson’s appointment several times, with the council reappointing her after each veto.

The city’s six aldermen were sharply divided last year, resulting in Nash filing a suit to successfully challenge the qualifications of two members who opposed him. Wyatt removed the two, leaving the council split two-two.

Wyatt held that Barley-Gibson was legally appointed and ordered Nash to provide her keys to the recorder’s City Hall office and access to records to perform her duties.

Later Wyatt ordered Nash jailed in contempt of court when the required items were not provided.

Barley-Gibson filed a criminal assault complaint against Nash after he allegedly shoved her when she brought a locksmith to City Hall to open the required offices.

The first of two counts in the latest litigation contended breach of contract for not being compensated for her duties, “lost wages, interest, and fines and fees accrued from an inability to pay bills.”

The second count, alleging tortious interference, claimed the defendants had direct knowledge of her right to perform the duties of the office; failure to provide access to the records that was done “intentionally and with malice”; humiliation; and damages from lost wages.

The suit seeks damages for lost wages, general and specific damages, attorneys’ fees, and a jury trial.