Tryon hires special attorney for Davis termination case

Published 10:00 pm Friday, February 24, 2017

Davis’ attorney sends second letter to town

TRYON   The Town of Tryon has hired a new attorney to handle matters concerning the case of Joey Davis, Tryon’s former fire chief who was fired Jan. 27, 2017.

The town obtained the services of attorney Bill Brazil, of Brazil & Burke, P.A. of Asheville, according to Tryon Town Attorney Bailey Nager.

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Davis has not filed a lawsuit against the town but his attorney, Stephen Lindsay, has threatened a lawsuit.

Lindsay sent another letter to the town on Monday, Feb. 20 prior to the town’s Tuesday, Feb. 21 meeting.

Lindsay said he understands there will likely be public discussion about the termination of Davis, and the ongoing N.C. State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) investigation, at the council meeting Tuesday.

“The purpose of this letter is to make clear that any untruthful public statements made by you or members of the council will be considered by Mr. Davis and me as additional damages to his reputation and to our contention that his termination was unlawful,” Lindsay said in his letter to town manager Zach Ollis and attorney Bailey Nager.

Lindsay also wrote that Davis did not receive any money from the transactions, referring to the payments made on a town credit card to pay Councilman Roy Miller’s personal bills, and Davis has maintained all along that he was pressured into making those payments.

“Mr. Davis would not, as you have suggested and expressed to the media and others, be an offender,” Lindsay said. “Rather, he would, like Tryon, be a victim in this mess.”

The letter also addressed the town withholding a portion of Davis’ vacation pay to cover the losses the town believes it suffered.

“I simply fail to see how Mr. Davis should ever have to pay back money he did not receive,” Lindsay said. “Do you not find it more appropriate to get that money back from the person who received it? I’m more than a bit surprised that the money has not been returned by the recipient. Do you have any explanation as to why that has not occurred?”

Lindsay ended the letter saying he and Davis request and expect the town to make every effort to clarify on the record that Davis did not, directly or indirectly receive any money from these matters and that he has and will continue to assist law enforcement and the town in the full investigation and prosecution of any wrongdoing uncovered.

“As this investigation is pending, we are not at liberty to comment any further about what or who is/are the target(s) of this investigation,” Lindsay said. “Finally, I again request that you immediately reinstate Mr. Davis and place him on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.”

The Bulletin contacted Councilman Roy Miller to ask him whether he was ever asked to return any money from the transactions that are the subject of Davis’ termination. He replied, “No comment.”

The Bulletin also reached out to Ollis and Mayor Alan Peoples for comment on the second letter. Neither would comment.

View the letter. Click here.