by Travis Mateer
Last month I asked the following question in a post titled WTF Is Going On Between The Jurisdictional Sheets Of the Missoula And Mineral County Sheriff Offices? Here’s the portion of the post I’m revisiting in my mind as I consider what kind of bell I rang last Thursday with my first and last contact with Rob Bell, of Reep Bell & Jasper.
Lance Jasper is an attorney in Missoula who strangely showed up at the Mineral County Commissioner hearing last November, the one where Rebekah Barsotti’s mother, Angela Mastrovito, began dismantling the false impression a real search was taking place for her daughter, and not a cover-up.
I finally spoke with Mr. Jasper a few months ago because I really wanted to know what he was up to. After a few unreturned calls, a promise to write about his stonewalling did the trick. Lance Jasper explained to me he was just showing up to encourage Sheriff Toth to ask for outside assistance. Jasper claimed he did this because he knew Toth’s Office wasn’t up to the task.
Also, Lance Jasper was present at the Johnny Lee Perry Coroner’s Inquest, but I’m not sure in what capacity.
If Lance Jasper hadn’t inserted himself into the Barsotti case last November, I probably wouldn’t have taken notice of his presence at Johnny Lee Perry coroner’s inquest this spring, and I doubt the case his law office has taken against the Mineral County Attorney’s Office, on behalf of some Mineral County Sheriff Deputies, would have been on my radar.
But he did, and I noticed, and here we are with my first and last contact with a man I’ve never met, and he’s certainly never met me, and now, sadly, our paths seem barred from crossing after I got this response from an email I cc’d him on:
I do not know who you are. Based upon the business card you left at our office, I understand you claim to operate a private blog of some sort. When I attempted to go to the blog website to determine its purpose or legitimacy, I received a security warning from my browser. That, combined with the aggressive tone of your email, concerns me. You seem to believe, mistakenly, that it is our role or responsibility to answer questions about our cases posed by third-parties who walk into our office off the street. It isn’t and we don’t.
Our office is a private workplace. I ask that you neither come here nor contact us again.
Clearly I rang Bell’s bell, so let’s see how AGGRESSIVE I was in this aggressive email.
I’m not sure how a lawyer like Rob Bell defines the word AGGRESSIVE, but maybe my tendency to CAPITALIZE words for emphasis was interpreted as unnecessarily hostile. Oh well.
The settlement I am referencing was reported on in this Missoulian article last month. In rereading this article, the HOW I am inquiring about is reported as simply Deputies filing this case in January. From the link:
Erica Grinde, Missoula County director of risk management and benefits, said the discrepancy in the deputies’ wages “stemmed from some unclear state statutes.”
She said state legislation passed in 2021 required parity and certification pay to be included in deputies’ wages, but Missoula County failed to include those wages in the deputies’ base pay.
“The claim alleged that because those factors weren’t included it decreased the deputies’ earnings,” explained Grinde.
Deputies filed the claim in January.
So, if I had to use my imagination, I’d say that a bunch of Sheriff Deputies were hanging out discussing the finer points of state legislation when the topic of pay parity came up, so obviously they went to the specific language of the legislation referenced in the article, and THAT gave them the bright idea to reach out to competent lawyers who could get them their hard earned pay.
Is that how it went down?
I guess I won’t be getting a chance to discuss this with Rob Bell because he checked me out and saw this warning from his browser:
Well, I did some checking as well, and got a different type of warning from examining Rob Bell’s recent political contributions:
Despite this quick antagonism toward me and my questions, I would definitely recommend hiring these lawyers, especially if you’re dealing with trespassing issues. When I worked at the old Poverello Center, which was right next door to Reep Bell & Jasper, I learned a lot about what it takes to successfully trespass someone. That is why I won’t be responding to Mr. Bell’s email.
One suggestion, though. If you are considering hiring this law firm, a process of screening for conflicts of interest is usually standard operating procedure, but how this law firm defines THAT is a question for a different post.
Thanks for reading!