Appeals court hears Klebba case

FULTON, Mo. — A special judge should not have blocked former Cole County Circuit Clerk Brenda Umstattd’s effort to fire a deputy clerk, an assistant attorney general told a three-judge appeals court panel Thursday.

But Theresa Klebba remains a deputy clerk on paid leave as county officials challenge Osage County Associate Circuit Judge Robert Schollmeyer’s ruling last January that Umstattd should not have tried to fire Klebba a second time.

Klebba also is defending herself in a separate, criminal case lodged by a Cole County grand jury, that she stole at least $500 from the circuit clerk’s office between July 1, 2010, and July 1, 2011. That case is scheduled for a three-day trial in March.

The appeals court panel from Kansas City heard the case at Westminster College, as part of its continuing efforts to hold hearings away from its usual courtrooms, so that students and others can see how the court works.

The state wants the court to rule Klebba should not have taken her case to the courts when Umstattd tried to fire Klebba a second time.

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