Eleanor, W.Va. – In the end, it was much ado about nothing or, perhaps, a lesson in power gone awry.
At the center of the controversy was Putnam County House of Delegates member Kathie Hess-Crouse.
The stage for most of the action was the historic Red House in Eleanor.
It was there that Crouse apparently attempted to take advantage of her position as an elected Republican House member.
Crouse herself painted the power position, with several witnesses saying she said, “I’m a Delegate. I can do what I want” more than once over the past few months.
At the center of the controversy was the Putnam County Republican Women organization.
Crouse was at one time a member of the group that met on September 25 at the Eleanor location.
It was between 6-6:10 p.m. that matters came to a head that day, according to witnesses.
It should be noted that this incident came months after Crouse had been asked to leave a meeting of the Republican Women in April.
Minutes of that April 24 meeting say that the session was interrupted by Crouse, Nancy Greenleaf and Becky Bostic during a Caring for America project report.
“They disregarded (Crouse, Greenleaf and Bostic) the President’s request to stop interrupting and then her request to leave the meeting,” the minutes say.
Further interruptions took place, with the trio refusing to leave, as requested by the President.
The President was forced to adjourn the April meeting due to their interruptions but not before Crouse shouted “F@#K You” at the officials.
According to various sources, including her own social media posts, Crouse became involved with a different group allegedly representing Republican women.
In fact, she at one time was recruiting members for the other group.
This sets the stage, then, for officials to look up at the September 25 meeting and see Crouse walk in and take a seat in the front row.
Despite their best attempts to discourage Crouse from staying while reminding her that she had resigned from this club months ago, she insisted on remaining.
It was during this time that she reminded the group, “I’m a Delegate. I can do what I want.”
Eventually, Crouse agreed to walk into the kitchen area with one of the other members. When a second member tried to join them, Crouse objected and said she wanted to meet privately with the first member.
In a few moments, the first member and Crouse started to walk outside. When the third member attempted to follow them, witnesses said Crouse tried to slam the exit door shut.
As the third member caught the door to keep it from slamming and damaging the historic structure, Crouse claimed the two other members committed battery by touching her.
Crouch filed formal complaints with the Eleanor Police Department, asking that the pair be charged with battery.
The two ladies were completely exonerated on Monday, November 6, when Eleanor City Prosecutor Elizabeth Sunyog advised the court that the cases did not meet the criteria for a battery charge.
There was no immediate comment from Crouse. Republican Women officials said they hope Crouse’s “reign of terror” for Putnam Republicans has ended.