Jasper County Circuit Court Judge John Potter heard arguments yesterday in a hearing where is was requested that a Temporary Restraining Order be removed to allow Linda Belork to resume her duties as the Starke County Treasurer.
That request was being opposed by the Starke County Commissioners.
In the hearing yesterday, Belork’s attorney, Ethan Lowe, argued that only the State’s Attorney General could remove an elected official from office. He said, “The county commissioners can only “piggy back” on actions brought by the Attorney General’s office. The Attorney General’s office has to initiate civil proceedings with the county prosecutor.”
Belork was removed by the Commissioners after a state audit revealed financial irregularities. Those irregularities were subsequently detected and the funds balanced, but the Commissioners did not move to allow her to return to office.
In his appearance before Judge Potter, the Commissioner’s Attorney, Martin Lucas, argued that no statute gives the attorney general’s office sole authority to remove an elected official and sue her bond in the case of the revelation of financial irregularities.
Judge Potter only questioned the attorneys for five minutes before announcing that he was taking the case under advisement, and would issue an order in the matter at a future date. Neither attorney had any response to a request by WKVI for comment. Attorney Lucas would not speculate on how long he anticipated an order being issued.
In attendance were all three county commissioners, Auditor Kay Chaffins, and Councilmen David Pearman and Judy Benninghoff.