By Ryan Miner
By now you’ve probably read the news that Washington County’s Assistant County Administrator, Sarah Lankford Sprecher, has accused Washington County Commissioner LeRoy E. Myers Jr. of sexual harassment and intimidation. The allegations stem from the South Korean trip both Myers and Sprecher took last fall on behalf of the county and the subsequent alleged conduct of Myers after Sprecher rejected Myers’ sexual advances.
You can read the details of Sprecher’s legal notice by clicking document below.
Sarah Lankford Sprecher Legal Notice of Claim by Ryan Miner on Scribd
Please remember this crucial tidbit whilst reading the allegations presented against Myers: Mr. Myers has not had his day in court and has yet to present his side of the story. Sprecher’s legal notice of claim, in accordance with Maryland law, are only allegations at this time. Said allegations have yet to be proven as fact, and Commissioner Myers, according to the Herald-Mail Media, intends to fully fight back against Sprecher’s allegations and prove himself innocent. I urge readers of A Miner Detail to be mindful of the sensitive nature of the materials and make no assumptions before hearing from all parties involved.
Expect to see Commissioner Myers’ attorney, D. Bruce Poole, aggressively fight the allegations presented against his client. You should also expect to see Sprecher’s counsel, Beiramee & Saboura, produce several witnesses, who will likely testify on Sprecher’s behalf.
Aside from the allegations presented against Myers, one minor detail stuck out to me as significant: Wayne Keefer allegedly threatened to demote Sprecher in her job as Assistant County Administrator for no other reason than retaliation.
Sprecher’s legal notice claimed that Commissioner Myers urged the other four Washington County commissioners to replace Sprecher as Assistant County Administrator with Robert J. Slocum, the then-current Director of Engineering and Construction Management, ostensibly in retaliation for rejecting Myers’ sexual advances. That’s an interesting claim; it’s one that might further unwind a few deals cut behind closed doors.
(Slocum has since been appointed county administrator by the five-man Commissioners’ board.)
Sprecher’s legal notice went on to claim that shortly after Myers urged the other commissioners to replace Sprecher, Washington County Commissioner Wayne Keefer – who was appointed by the Republican Central Committee in 2016 to fill the seat of the late Vincent G. “Woody” Spong after Spong resigned from the commissioner Board in January 2016 – personally delivered the news to Sprecher and “informed her, without any justification or explanation, that he and Commissioner Myers were going to recommend that she no longer be employed as the Assistant County Administrator. The legal notice went on to state that Keefer told Sprecher that the Commissioners “were going to find another position for her to fill.”
The legal notice went further with respect to Commissioner Keefer, stating, “Stunned by Commissioner Keefer’s threat and certain that the motivation for the same arose from her reject of: (a) Commissioner Myers’ sexual advances against her; and (b) his byzantine plot against Mr. Murray, Ms. Sprecher met with Stephanie M. Stone, the Director of Health and Human Services Division of Washington County, whose job duties include supervision of all human resources and employment practices and complaints for the County.
The legal notice stated that “instead of counseling Ms. Sprecher as a victim of the very conduct prohibited under the County’s Harassment in the Workplace and Whistleblower Policies, Ms. Stone cautioned Ms. Sprecher that Commissioner Myers was ‘a very powerful man’ and that Ms. Sprecher’s interests best would be served if ‘everyone acted like adults’ with Ms. Sprecher dropping her complaint and ‘moving on.”
Bottom line: Commissioner Wayne Keefer allegedly threatened to remove Ms. Sprecher from her current position as the Assistant County Administrator, operating at the behest of LeRoy Myers, according to Sprecher’s legal notice.
There are multiple sources reporting to me that Commissioner Myers recently loaned money to both Commissioners Wayne Keefer and Terry Baker. Sources claim that Myers issued a personal loan to Keefer to help him get his new flower shop off the ground. The same sources have said that Myers also loaned money to Terry Baker to purchase a piece of land in West Virginia.
A prominent Washington County attorney who asked to remain anonymous spoke with me today about the legal case against Myers:
“She’s [Sprecher] is not in for an easy litigation experience. Here’s how it will likely unfold: I would guess her lawyer filed the complaint, served him with notice, and filed the start discovery immediately to try to prevent the spoliation of evidence. That is like a Blitzkrieg-style attack, and he will have about 30 days to turn over evidence, file a response, and request evidence/discovery from her. After looking at the evidence, both sides will look at settling; so roughly 30 to 60 days before a solid decision will be made regarding the proceeding.”
There will also be a lot of arguing and motions back and forth in the meantime regarding discovery; because Poole is going to try and find creative ways to keep from having to turn over emails. etc. (and are a number of loopholes he can use for that purpose) to try to throw a wrench in things. He’s going to try to say a lot of things are inadmissible and quickly get a ruling on it. If successful, she [Sprecher] may not have enough evidence to proceed to a trial.
I emailed Commissioner Keefer earlier today at 2:57 p.m. seeking comment:
I have a few questions for you as that they relate to the allegations written in the legal “notice of claim” as constructed by legal counsel representing Ms. Sprecher.
1) Did you, at any time, threaten Sarah Lankford Sprecher’s employment with Washington County government?
2) Did you approach, as alleged in Ms. Sprecher’s claim, Ms. Sprecher and recommend that she should no longer be employed as the Assistant County Administrator? Did you inform Ms. Sprecher that the Commissioners were planning to find her another position in county government to fill?
3) Have you ever used your position as a county commissioner to intimidate or harass other county employees in an attempt to coerce said employees into submission?
4) Did you, as multiple citizens have reported, promise to support and vote for Linda Murray in advance of the committee’s recommendation for the Washington County Board of Education?
My deadline for comment is tonight by 9:00 p.m. I will be writing a story and releasing said story on AMinerDetail.com with or without your comment.
Keefer has not responded to my request for comment.
I also reached out today via email to Washington County’s Public Relations and Community Affairs Manager, James Jenkins, for comment. Jenkins responded that they “do not comment on personnel or legal matters.”
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