A widely distributed flash drive has become the subject of five lawsuits and multiple investigations of ethics violations at Parkersburg City Hall. It’s no wonder the citizenry are demanding to know how the materials came to be collected and disseminated.
Hundreds of files on the flash drive document the affairbetween Mayor Bob Newell and Finance Director Ashley Flowers. Text messages, letters, and emails tell the story of a troubled and grieving young mother who fell head over heels for her powerful, older boss. The drive contains dozens of photos – some of which are pornographic in nature. It also includes lengthy audio files of conversations and a video of an adult nature.
So, how did the flash drive come to be?
Ashley Flowers claims that the information was illegally obtained; however, the River City News Network has confirmed the origin through numerous sources. All of the files were copied from the Flowers’ home computer and distributed by Harold Flowers, Ashley’s estranged husband.
Not all of the images on the drive are personal or pornographic in nature. (The photo posted today is from the flash drive.) There are photos of the mayor posing with golfing buddies and Senator Joe Manchin. But, there are also dozens of more personal photos exchanged by the pair over the course of their affair.
Text messages reveal that the affair took place almost always on city time and on city property – for example in the mayor’s office or fifth floor kitchenette.
There are also text messages between city employees revealing that they knew the intimate details of the relationship.
As announced yesterday, five female city employees represented by attorney Bill Merriman have filed suit in Wood County Circuit Court over the matter. Stephanie Boone, Darci Dyke, Vicki Gheen, Sarah Goff and Tina Hughes claim they were subjected to more than a year of this behavior, which left them without the ability to go to a supervisor about problems caused by the relationship.