BRENTWOOD — Investigators were releasing few details yesterday on why Rockingham County Attorney James Reams and two other employees in his office were suspended.
Attorney General Joseph Foster and U.S. Attorney John Kacavas announced that Reams and his second in command, Deputy County Attorney Thomas Reid, were placed on paid administrative leave while investigators probe “management and operational issues” at the office.
Reams, reached yesterday morning while in Texas for a conference, said he was surprised to have been suspended and could not comment. He said he was still trying to sort out the details.
“I can’t talk about it,” Reams said. “I don’t know what’s going on.”
Reams was contacted Wednesday night, as was Reid, and ordered to stay away from the county attorney’s office at Rockingham Superior Court.
Senior Assistant Attorney General James Boffetti was appointed interim county attorney following a judge’s approval of an emergency court order.
Foster said his office began investigating the county attorney’s office after receiving a complaint from a former employee two weeks ago.
“The interview led us to a number of other former employees we interviewed, along with agents from the FBI,” Foster said during a press conference at Superior Court yesterday morning. “The interviews corroborated the allegations made by the complainant and raised other issues.”
But Foster, Kacavas and Associate Attorney General Jane Young would not identify the employee nor elaborate further.
“The allegations were significant,” Foster said.
They also would not confirm that a third employee was placed on paid administrative leave, although county commissioners said they took that action after meeting with Foster, Kacavas, Young, the FBI and other investigators for three hours late Wednesday.
Foster called Reams to tell him his prosecuting authority was suspended. County Commissioner Kevin Coyle notified Reid that his powers were suspended as well, commission Chairwoman Katherin Pratt said.