Clinton County Commissioners taking sheriff to court

Clinton County Commissioners are taking the Sheriff and his wife.

Posted: Mar 23, 2021 5:14 PM
Updated: Mar 23, 2021 5:14 PM

CLINTON COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI)—In a 17 page document filed with the Clinton Circuit Court, Clinton County Sheriff Rich Kelly and his wife Ashley Kelly are accused of deceptively creating an LLC days before he started his term in 2019. 

The Commissioners claim the LLC was created to collect profits from commissary sales and potentially other income related to the Clinton County Sheriff's Office and Jail.

The suit says Sheriff Kelly owns 49% ownership in the LLC. His wife owns 51%. The filing notes when Sheriff Kelly was elected he appointed his wife Ashley Kelly as the Matron of the Clinton County Jail.

That position is responsible for the sale of commissary items to inmates. Since Matron Kelly has taken over the commissary contractor duties she has added numerous items and other monies such as e-cigarettes, phone cards, a phone texting system, additional food items, and books.

The filing says those things have significantly increased the commissary fund. In 2019 commissary fund disbursements were $309,390.20.

In 2020 it went up 101,291.20 dollars to $410,681.40. The suit says in 2018, the year before Sheriff Kelly took office, commissary fund disbursements were $204,588.00. 

The commissioners also say that Sheriff Kelly has refused to sign compensation agreements with the county, so it's unclear how much more he's compensated himself by alternate means and paid himself from other public sources.

Sheriff Rich Kelly sent News 18 a response to the allegations:

"I've spent the last 27 years in law enforcement and will continue my commitment to Clinton County," said Kelly. "I will not compromise at the cost of those that work with me or the inmates I am responsible for. I have faith in my community and our system of government. My response to the commissioners will be in court supported by factual events and evidence, with professionalism all within my authority."

According to court documents, on Monday the defendants filed to have the venue field moved. The judge granted that motion. News 18 reached out to the commissioners.

Commissioner Josh Uitts has agreed to speak with News 18 later this week. We have also reached out to the attorney representing Sheriff Kelly and his wife, Ashley.

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