HAZARD — The legal wrangling for the position of Martin mayor ended with a whimper Tuesday, as former Mayor Thomasine Robinson dropped her lawsuit in Perry Circuit Court.
Robinson had filed suit against Sam Howell, Chris Waugh, and the Floyd County Board of Elections, among others, after falling three votes shy of Howell in November’s Martin mayor’s race.
“She conceded the election, and moved to dismiss her lawsuit with prejudice,” said Floyd County Attorney Keith Bartley. “With prejudice” is a legal term which simply means the case can never be brought back up.
Both Howell and former Mayor Thomasine Robinson were in court last week with their attorneys, for a recount of the November election, which confirmed the results of the recanvass which was performed one week after the election, at which time Robinson picked up two more previously uncounted absentee votes.
The debate over the election may be over, but Robinson’s legal woes may only be beginning. During a recent court hearing Floyd County Attorney Keith Bartley noted that the Attorney General’s office had subpoenaed the absentee ballots after the recanvass of the election. Those ballots and the election are currently under review in an ongoing criminal investigation by both the Attorney General’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Bartley told a Hazard Herald reporter that the investigation specifically targets Robinson.
“This ends the election contest case, but it will in no way interfere with the underlying criminal investigation,” Bartley said.
Following the election, Robinson filed a lawsuit in Floyd Circuit Court claiming that there were several irregularities in regard to the race, including improper assistance, voter intimidation and a failure on the part of election officials to respond to voter challenges. Robinson claims that at least 19 people who were not residents of the city voted in the race.
Floyd County Circuit Court Judge John D. Caudill recused himself from the proceedings after disclosing an ongoing friendship with Thomasine Robinson. Perry County Judge William Engle III was picked to hear the case in his stead.
Robinson’s husband, James “Red” Robinson, was arrested shortly after the recanvass on charges of terroristic threatening and menacing after allegedly verbally threatening Mayor Sam Howell in the old Floyd County courthouse, only moments before the recanvass took place. Robinson was placed on house arrest to await trial.
Thomasine Robinson has refused to speak to Times staff.