According to a well-connected source in the legal community, Ferguson Municipal Judge Ron Brockmeyer recalled several warrants issued against Bel-Ridge Village trustee Patti Armanees for housing violations on properties she owns. That action came the day she nominated him for Bel-Ridge municipal judge on Dec. 7.
Brockmeyer was appointed by Bel-Ridge trustees later that night, but was prohibited from taking the bench by an order issued in January by St. Louis County Judge Richard Bresnahan.
St. Charles attorney and Bel-Ridge Municipal Judge Tom Flach had served as the village’s municipal judge since 1998. He was briefly ousted on Dec. 7 when Bel-Ridge Trustee John Crawford Sr. moved to replace him with Brockmeyer and also replace village prosecutor Mike McAvoy and Dulany Harms and William Goldstein as prosecutors. Flach is also municipal judge in Velda Village Hills.
The source’s accusation seems to be supported by a deposition of Armanees, who first says she knew warrants were issued for her arrest, then, after a call to Brockmeyer, learns that there are no longer any warrants. Patch obtained the deposition on Friday of Armanees, which was taken on May 11. The following are excerpts from the deposition with the questions asked by Flach’s attorney, Frank Vatterott, and answers by Armanees.
Vatterott: Were you ever issued a warrant for your arrest for not appearing in Ferguson?
Vatterott: What did you do when you found out you had a warrant?
Armanees: I asked one of the (Bel-Ridge) police officers to confirm it ‘cause I didn’t believe it.
Vatterott: And what did the police officer do?
Armanees: He said as far as he could tell there was one.
Vatterott: Why did you call Judge Brockmeyer as opposed to another lawyer?
Armanees: I assumed he could get ahold of the clerk.
Vatterott: What did he (Brockmeyer) say?
Armanees: He said he would get ahold of the clerk and find out what was going on.
Vatterott: And then what happened? Did he get back to you?
Vatterott: What did he say?
Armanees: But basically what he said was there was no warrant. I think that’s what he said. That there was — there was, there was — I don’t want to put words out that I don’t remember. But, you know I didn’t understand everything. Basically the understanding I got was that there was no warrant. That there was — I don’t know. I don’t remember. I don’t want to try and make up words.
Bel-Ridge Trustees Wilma Abernathy, Woodie Frieson, and Julia Anderson filed a lawsuit against fellow trustees Armanees, Crawford Sr., William Walker, Billy Robertson, Andrea Nichols, and Ernest Debres over the replacement of Flach as municipal judge.
Attorney and Maplewood Municipal Judge Brian Dunlop was appointed to handle Bel-Ridge municipal judge duties until it was decided whether Flach or Brockmeyer would sit on the Bel-Ridge bench.
Brockmeyer is also municipal judge for Breckenridge Hills, Flordell Hills and is an attorney based in St. Charles. He is being represented by Paul Rost of Cunningham, Vogel, & Rost, P.C. of Webster Groves.
A call placed to Brockmeyer seeking comment was not returned.
Bel-Ridge has a population of approximately 3,000 people and covers an area of 0.8 square miles. It has long been a speed trap for motorists traveling the stretch of Natural Bridge that runs through the village.
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