Precinct 4 Commissioner Albert Jerome “A.J.” Peek, of Vashti, has been indicted by a Clay County grand jury, charged with abuse of official capacity, a class A misdemeanor.
The indictment was sealed when handed down Monday. Peek turned himself in at 7:55 a.m. Tuesday. He was released on a $1,000 bond.
Peek is believed to have had a county employee, using a county-owned backhoe, clean out a ditch along a private drive in Precinct 4 on April 1, 2011, to benefit the owner of the property, located on B. Davis Road. The property is owned by Ricky Staley, who is disabled.
The property described in the indictment is not owned by Peek.
Use of the backhoe and personnel is valued at between $500 and $1,500.
According to state law, an elected official can be removed from office for a misdemeanor conviction, but not an indictment.
The case is being handled by a special prosecutor from Cooke County.
Peek is in his first term as commissioner. In 2010, he defeated Brice Jackson, who had held the office for more than 20 years.
Editors Note: Property owner Ricky Staley is the father-in-law of Pioneer Sentinel Editor Matt Kelton.