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8-6-16

Facilities director
charged with stealing
from county, using items to build a beer garden at his Platte City home


Kenneth M. Bozenhardt

by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

A new problem at the Platte County government complex.

Platte County’s director of facilities has allegedly spent nearly 15 months using the county’s credit card and business account at Home Depot to build a beer garden at his home and purchase other personal items--including alcohol. 

Kenneth M. Bozenhardt, 54, of Platte City was charged with stealing after allegedly admitting to investigators that he had purchased several items—including a lawn mower, welder, tool cabinet, sun shade, and flower pots—with county funds.

The charge was filed Saturday by Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd after an investigation by the Platte County Sheriff’s Department. The Landmark was first to break the news on Twitter @ivanfoley around 4:15 p.m. Saturday.

The story comes amid what has been a newsy summer at the Platte County Administration Building, with the county treasurer scammed out of $48,000 in an email spoofing in late May and the county commission calling for a criminal investigation into that matter. That investigative report is now in the hands of the office of the Missouri Attorney General, awaiting a decision on any charges. The county has recovered about $28,000 and is still trying to collect the remaining funds through a surety bond claim.

According to court records, in May 2015, Bozenhardt allegedly purchased a welder using Platte County’s business account at the Home Depot.  However, county facilities employees indicated that the facilities department inventory does not include a welder, as they used the one at the public works department.

Also in 2015, Bozenhardt allegedly purchased a tool cabinet on the same county account at Home Depot.  Yet facilities employees indicated that no tool cabinets had been purchased for over two years.

The 2015 purchases were allegedly followed up with multiple individual purchases this year. Items Bozenhardt allegedly purchased with county funds included things such as a Toro lawn mower, 10-foot cedar posts, 12-foot cedar boards, potting planters, potting pebbles, a watering can, flags, flag holders and sun screen material. 

At least some of the items were purchased on a Sunday, which county facilities employees said would be outside normal business practices.

Interestingly, according to county policy, at least two county commissioners had to have approved payment for the purchases Bozenhardt had allegedly been making at Home Depot. Invoices for all of the items had been paid by county commissioners, Zahnd confirmed Saturday. County procedures require signatures of at least two commissioners before any payment requisition is paid.

Last month, Bozenhardt allegedly purchased Sailor Jerry Rum at a local gas station using the county’s credit card. 

Court documents also state that Bozenhardt admitted taking $200 in 2016 after scrapping materials from maintenance jobs around county facilities.

Authorities say Bozenhardt told investigators he had used the items for the construction and decoration of a beer garden at his home. 

County employees told investigators Bozenhardt had bragged that he used the sun shade purchased with county funds for that beer garden.

Zahnd said his office charged Bozenhardt after Bozenhardt was placed on a 24-hour investigative hold by the sheriff’s department.  However, Zahnd said he would ask the court to appoint a special prosecutor to handle the case.  Zahnd has sought a special prosecutor in previous cases involving high-ranking county employees with whom he has had regular contact.

Saturday afternoon Bozenhardt was still listed as being in custody at the Platte County Jail.

Judge James Van Amburg set bond in the case at $2,000, which could be posted by 10% paid to the court or by surety.  If convicted of stealing, Bozenhardt faces up to seven years in prison.