Suits, countersuits filed in Warren clerk case

Trading one debt in the circuit clerk’s office to pay off another in time for Circuit Clerk Shelly Ashley-Palmertree to win a third term was a big deal to her in 2011.

So much so, that it was written in a letter to state auditors agreeing to the swap.

“Pursuant to our phone conversation, I want to again state that your office address this matter with the local newspaper,” wrote her attorney, James L. “Buck” Penley, in a letter dated Aug. 17, 2011, to state auditors attached to a countersuit filed Monday by the state auditor and Warren County in Hinds County Chancery Court.

Two weeks before the date on the letter, Ashley-Palmertree had won a contested Democratic primary and prepared to face 2½ months later three opponents in a general election that she won with 49.7 percent of the vote. For months, she had been scrutinized over a state auditor’s investigation made public over $294,313 in salary cap overages dating to 2006 and $48,917 in subcontractor fees to her father and predecessor, Larry Ashley, both noted in the county’s 2010 audit.