KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp resigned Wednesday after court documents revealed a five-year affair with a woman who quickly became the highest paid civilian employee in his agency.
The explosive details come from recent court filings in the case of Christine Lynde vs. Jackson County, Missouri. Lynde, a payroll clerk for the sheriff’s department, first sued the county three years ago claiming sexual harassment and discrimination by three coworkers.
Sheriff Mike Sharp was not one of them, but during depositions for that suit, the woman’s romantic relationship with the sheriff came to light.
Sharp acknowledged in a deposition filed April 11 that he has had a five-year affair with Lynde. He also admitted giving her $8,000 toward the down payment of a house in Clay County. The sheriff also told investigators he routinely deposited extra money in Lynde’s bank account.
Lynde said in her deposition that she was already having an affair with the sheriff when he hired her as a part-time payroll clerk. When that job became full time,
Lynde’s hourly pay jumped 70 percent in a single month. Plus she was giving a phone, a county-issued car and the option to work from home.
At $25-per-hour, Lynde became the highest paid civilian employee in the sheriff’s department.
Court filings also detailed multiple sexual liaisons involving Lynde, the sheriff, and the sheriff’s wife at the time. Attorneys representing Jackson County accused Lynde of refusing to turn over text messages she exchanged with the sheriff over the course of the affair.
Attorneys, however, did get their hands on this text message that Lynde forwarded to someone else after sending it to the sheriff:
"You continue to be Sheriff Sharp and ill (sic) be the hired payroll girl... Ill (sic) continue to suffer and ill deal with it. You'll be free when your divorce is final. I feel used by you both.”
The sheriff admitted in a deposition that he treated Lynde to multiple trips across the country, including New Orleans and Washington, D.C.
The trips were paid for in part with taxpayer money.
The revelations in the lawsuit bring credence to claims in other public filings and even a political campaign by Sharp’s opponent of a hostile work environment at the sheriff’s department.
Employees said they felt their concerns were ignored, particularly when those concerns involved Christine Lynde.
Jackson County Executive Frank White is expected to name a replacement for Sharp by the end of the week.