Public Records Lawsuit Filed Against Johnston County Government

SMITHFIELD – A Johnston County resident has filed a Public Records lawsuit against the Johnston County Manager’s Office. The lawsuit also names County Manager Rick Hester and County Attorney Jennifer Slusser as defendants.

Kellie Ashley filed the suit August 17, 2023 in Johnston County Superior Court. In the complaint, Ashley claims she filed a Public Records Request on November 2, 2020 with Mr. Hester seeking copies of emails, text messages, and phone records, among other documents. She claims the County only provided some of the records, and had to resubmit the request. The lawsuit alleges all the records requested have not been turned over.

In a phone interview, Ms. Ashley said the records sought are internal documents and communications between the county attorney, an outside law firm, and the Johnston County Inspections Department regarding building permits. Ashley said she is a general contractor and the county has attempted to interfere with the construction of a new home.

Ashley is a pro se litigant. She personally filed the lawsuit and will represent herself in court.

Mr. Hester, the county manager, said he was unable to comment.


  1. Call them good ole boys or whatever but the way I see it is this county was once a wonderful place to live until people from other places started moving her destroying the once easy living and quietness. People are rude and disrespectful, trample and trash other people’s property to the point that the people that have lived here for generations have had it. Let’s not even start with the political nightmare that is looming over the county now where at least we could leave all that nonsense in other counties.

    • @Ralph: Spoken like a true JoCo native…

      “I was here first.”

      “It’s OK for me to be here, but not you.”

      “Let’s go back to the way things were.”

      • I don’t others coming to escape the drama but don’t bring the drama here and have respect for the people,their culture and property. There are many reasons why people came here to begin with and I would like to think most people have the same common interests when it comes to life and family.

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