Political Vendetta Claimed in West Virginia

     (CN) – A Hinton, W. Va. woman claims in a lawsuit that the city’s mayor is carrying out a vendetta against her family because she actively campaigned against him.
     In a complaint filed on June 2, Lila Oxley says Hinton’s Mayor Joseph Blankenship and his hand-picked city attorney, Richard Gunnoe, have repeatedly violated her civil rights and tarnished the reputations of she and her two sons.
     Oxley describes herself and her family as “strongly involved” in local politics, and says that once Blankenship became mayor used his position to ensure that her son Tommy Oxley, a member of the city council, lose his bid for re-election.
     She claims Blankenship and Gunnoe then maneuvered to force her other son, Curtis Shaver, to resign from his position as a municipal judge.
     Oxley says that as the bad blood and controversy have raged in Hinton, she’s made numerous requests for documents under the Freedom of Information Act, but that Blankenship and Gunnoe have told the city manager and other city staff members to simply ignore her, “labeling her as a trouble maker” and making “other malicious allegations” against her.
     Oxley claims Blankenship and Gunnoe later intensified their campaign against her, trumping up an allegation of being a public nuisance against her, calling her property an eye-sore and insisting that it be cleaned up.
     She’s says Blankenship appointed himself municipal judge, just so he could rule over the proceedings which featured Gunnoe as her prosecutor.
     As a result, she says, she was denied her right to due process, and even the right to be represented by an attorney.
     Convicted and fined $3,600, Oxley appealed the case, but a hearing was never scheduled and the conviction remains on her record.
     Oxley says she has lodged numerous complaints against both the mayor and the city attorney, but the city council has done nothing to curb, correct, or prevent the abuse against her.
     She seeks exemplary and compensatory damages on claims of violations of the Civil Rights Act, libel, defamation and malicious conduct.
     Oxley is represented by Michael Froble of Beckley, W. Va.
     Representatives of the defendants did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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