EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

December 12, 2013

Reams case heads to court today

Complaints include sexual harassment, not properly distributing county money

(Continued)

Reams said he’s been asked by the attorney general’s office to resign, but has not been informed of the allegations him and why he should step down. He was first elected in 1998.

Details of the alleged inappropriate conduct are expected to surface during the hearing at 1:30 p.m. today in Merrimack County Superior Court. Reams said he did not plan on attending the hearing.

Ramsdell said he has asked Judge Richard McNamara to decide if the attorney general’s office should provide more information on the allegations against his client. They are preparing for Reams’ reinstatement hearing.

Reams also is facing allegations he violated state law and diverted money received through court fines for liquor and gambling violations and the forfeiture of assets seized by law enforcement.

The money was distributed to police departments involved in criminal investigations instead of putting it in the county’s general fund, County Commissioner Kevin Coyle said.

No other county attorney in the state follows that practice, he said.

Coyle said Reams became angry and defensive when he questioned him about it shortly after becoming a commissioner in January.

“I immediately knew there was a problem and asked Jim about it and said, ‘That’s not your money. That belongs to the county,’” Coyle said. “That’s more than $100,000 in county money.”

Reams said he stopped distributing the money to police departments throughout the county after Coyle raised the issue. He said about $125,000 had been allocated to the departments in the past five or six years.

“It’s basically drug dealers’ money,” he said. “We did press conferences saying we returned money to the community. We made no attempt to hide it.”

Reams is filing a lawsuit against the three county commissioners for preventing him from accessing his office at the Rockingham County Courthouse. The county attorney said he needs files in the office to prepare his defense.

Senior Assistant Attorney General James Boffetti is serving as interim county attorney in his absence.

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