Lively Coroner's Race


In Jefferson County politics tonight, two men ready to battle for the position of coroner may have to first do battle in a courtroom.

David Westbrook says he is a former marine, that he is not gay, and that he has no idea why his former boss might have thought he was gay.

On Monday that former boss, Chad Kelley, filed for public office making it known that he wants to continue on as Jefferson County coroner.

Later this week Westbrook says he will also file to be coroner. Westbrook has a four-year criminal justice degree and eight years experience as a deputy coroner.

In fact, he was chief deputy coroner when Kelley fired him four months ago.

"We had been having tension for about the last year," says Westbrook. "Everything was targeted at me in the sense that all of a sudden I couldn't do anything right."

In December Westbrook filed a lawsuit against Kelley that alleges "...a hostile work environment."

Westbrook claims that he "...refused to engage in sexual conduct" with Kelley, and that the coroner subsequently "...demoted...and eventually terminated" him last September.

Kelley's attorneys have filed a response in which he denies the allegations and has asked that the lawsuit be dismissed.

"It's wrong," says Westbrook of Kelley's alleged actions. "Even if you're a female. If I'm not open to your advances the message is to stop. And, you know, he continued."

In a statement given to KATV today Kelley says Westbrook was terminated because of unauthorized use of a county gas credit card, although there has been no formal investigation by the sheriffs department into that allegation and Westbrook denies it.

Air date: February 25th, 2014