Councilman Doug Fleenor files lawsuit against Bristol, VA for removal attempt

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BRISTOL, VA (WJHL) – Bristol, Va., councilman Doug Fleenor, who is the subject of an ouster attempt by fellow council members, filed a lawsuit against the council Thursday in city court challenging the action.

Fleenor was served with a letter Aug. 28 titled “AMENDED NOTICE OF INTENT TO REMOVE COUNCILMAN J. DOUGLAS FLEENOR” and stating that a hearing would be held on Monday at 6 p.m. to determine if he “should be removed from Council for malfeasance or neglect of duty,” according to the lawsuit filed in Bristol, Va., Circuit Court.

“The threatened hearing and action is illegal,” the suit states in part, claiming the removal attempt is contrary to state law “which provides that an elected officer can be removed only by order of the Circuit Court upon the verified petition of at least ten (10) per cent of voters who particip0ated in the election.”

The suit asks for a permanent injunction restraining the defendants, who are the other members of the city council, from removing Fleenor as “threatened,” and other relief deemed appropriate and attorney fees.

Fleenor declined to say exactly what was in the letter when asked by WJHL, and city leaders cited the city charter as a reason for denying to divulge the contents of the letter.

Shortly before Fleenor’s suit was made known Thursday, a city email was sent to media explaining that a council meeting planned for Monday had been postponed with a later date to be determined.

Fleenor originally said he would likely not challenge the removal action.

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