by Ivan Foley
Corruption is being alleged inside the city government at Ferrelview.
A member of the Ferrelview Board of Trustees is charged with felonies of stealing by deceit and acceding to corruption, as well as a misdemeanor charge of stealing.
Platte County prosecutors have filed the charges against Russell J. Wilson, 52, of Ferrelview. A warrant for his arrest was issued Tuesday, with bond set at $15,000 cash only. As of early Wednesday morning he had not yet been taken into custody.
The two felonies deal with Wilson’s involvement in personally acquiring a former police department vehicle from the village, a 2005 Ford Crown Victoria.
Authorities say the village board advertised two police vehicles, including the 2005, to the public. On Jan. 9, the board announced the winning bids and the winners were contacted the next day by the city clerk.
Authorities allege the winning bidder--or his representative--of the 2005 vehicle with a bid of $2,500 attempted on at least three occasions to inspect and pay for the vehicle and on each attempt was denied the opportunity to do so by Wilson.
Court papers allege the reasons for the denials included Wilson’s failure to provide the keys to the winning bidder, providing the wrong key, removing the battery from the car, and telling the winning bidder the police department decals had not been completely removed.
Authorities allege Wilson eventually moved the vehicle from
City Hall to his private residence.
Wilson had originally bid $1,100 on the 2005 vehicle and $550 on a 2002 vehicle the city was also selling, well below the highest bid of $2,500, authorities allege.
Wilson ultimately purchased the 2005 for $550 after falsely reporting to the board that the $2,500 bidder had declined to purchase it, prosecutors allege.
Prosecutors say the winning bidder, Gary Bowman, has denied ever stating he did not want to purchase the vehicle and was, at the time of a sheriff’s department investigation into the matter, still interested in buying it.
Authorities allege in court documents that Wilson in an interview stated that he personally supervised the decommissioning of the 2005 vehicle due to his expertise with the Ford Crown Victoria and its police equipment, however he would later claim he did not know the vehicle’s year of manufacture when trying to justify his $550 payment for the car.
In court papers, investigators say Wilson had the title to the car in his possession, listing its year of manufacture, and despite knowing he was purchasing the wrong vehicle, he chose not to return the car.
Authorities allege that on Feb. 26 Wilson requested the treasurer for the village to unlawfully transfer ownership of the car to him for $550, “knowing that the vehicle had been awarded to another party through a sealed bid process for $2,500,” according to court papers.
Prosecutors say the ownership of the vehicle remains in dispute, “although its last known location was at Wilson’s residence its current whereabouts is unknown,”
according to court documents.
STEALING OF WATER SERVICE ALLEGED
The misdemeanor charge of stealing that prosecutors have filed against Wilson deals with water service to his Ferrelview residence.
Authorities say on March 12, the chief water operator for the village received an email from the city clerk instructing him to terminate water service at the Wilson residence in Ferrelview due to lack of payment of a bill in excess of $100.
Upon arrival at the residence, the water operator contacted Russell Wilson, who holds the position of water board commissioner on the board of trustees, and informed him he had received the order to turn off his water service.
Russell Wilson’s wife, Theresa Wilson, is also a member of the Ferrelview Board of Trustees.
According to the allegations, Russell Wilson ordered the water operator to not turn off the water.
The water operator requested and received an email from Russell Wilson instructing him to disregard the order issued by the city clerk and left Wilson’s water service on, thus avoiding a $50 reconnect fee from being assessed, according to the allegations.