Note: This story appears in the Wednesday, Sept. 11 newspaper on Page A5.
McARTHUR — The Vinton County Board of Commissioners recently filed a civil lawsuit against Vinton County Prosecutor Trecia Kimes-Brown, requesting the return of a 2006 Ford F250 truck.
Attorney Jeffrey Finley of Finley and Eachus law office, representing the commissioners, filed a motion for an order of possession of property and affidavit in replevin Aug. 27, according to court records.
Replevin is a legal action to request the return of personal property that is allegedly being kept from by another person without the permission of the owner.
Kimes-Brown was served with the summons on Aug. 29.
The truck, titled to the Vinton County Commissioners and retained per a court order by the prosecutor’s office, was forfeited as a result of a court case in 2017.
On May 21 of this year, the county commissioners requested the vehicle back into their possession through a letter to Kimes-Brown. Their intent was to sell the vehicle through “sealed bids or by auction,” and they requested it back by June 13.
“At the time you received it, we were told it was going to be used to promote drug seizes and anti-drug policies of the county which has not happened. Every month the value of the vehicle is decreasing,” the letter stated, also citing various inquiries about the truck’s status relayed to the commissioners by county residents.
Kimes-Brown noted she submitted a public records request on May 28 to see the inquiries made about the truck. The commissioners replied to her in a letter, dated June 11, that each inquiry was “made to one commissioner at a time, both in the office and out of the office.” They also stated they did not log “times, dates or names” for those conversations.
The commissioners stated in this letter that they were again requesting the vehicle, “registered in the county’s name, to be returned to the county and not sit at your personal residence.”
The court order in State of Ohio v. Roger Dean Ward stated that the commissioners “will title and insure the vehicle to be retained by the prosecutor in her official capacity for official purposes related to the prevention of drug crimes, etc.”
In addition, on March 13, 2017, county commissioners passed a resolution to release the truck to Kimes-Brown “for work purposes only.”
Kimes-Brown told The Courier that she intended for the truck to be used for parades and other public events. Her plan was to have the truck painted with words or signage indicating it was a vehicle seized from a drug case. She explained her office has been attempting to find volunteers to complete the paint work, but also volunteers to help with repairs to the vehicle.