Law firm defends Gardner Edgerton school board attorney against complaint

03/07/2014 5:59 PM

03/07/2014 6:00 PM

The law firm of Gardner Edgerton’s school board attorney said Friday that a complaint against him contains false statements.

Rep. Bill Sutton, a Gardner Republican, had filed the complaint with the Kansas disciplinary administrator.

Sutton said the board’s attorney, Joe Hatley, was verbally abusive to school board members at a Feb. 27 meeting in which three top district officials were dismissed. Sutton said Hatley appeared more intent on representing now-fired superintendent Bill Gilhaus than he was in representing the board.

Dave Wing said Friday that he and another attorney would be representing Hatley in the Sutton complaint and that he was disappointed with Sutton’s “false statements,” which he said “appear intended to damage Joe Hatley’s impeccable reputation.”

Wing and Hatley are both partners at the Kansas City law firm Spencer Fane Britt & Browne.

Hatley gave the board good advice, Wing said, adding that he looks forward to addressing the issues Sutton raised. He said he is confident those complaints will be found “meritless.”

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