We were saddened to hear the news of the passing of Ron Porter, former alderman in Platte City, over the weekend.
Porter faithfully served as a ward two alderman for more than 10 years. He was elected six times. I’ll remember Porter as a dedicated, well-intentioned alderman who wasn’t afraid to speak his mind, even on those occasions when he knew his feeling might not match the majority opinion of the board. He took his elected role seriously and remained professional in the process.
Our condolences to the entire Porter family.
Legendary rock and roll singer Meat Loaf (the song Paradise by the Dashboard Light was one of his classics) died last week at age 74. Little known fact, as pointed out recently on the Facebook page Platte County Missouri Back in the Day, is that Meat Loaf once performed at the former Woody’s Nightclub in Platte County. He played at Woody’s, which was located near the I-29 and 64th St. intersection, in June of 1989. That was 12 years after his mega hit debut album Bat Out of Hell had come out. You could get tickets for his appearance at Woody’s for $10 or $14, depending upon how close you wanted to get to the meat loaf.
Well, according to Parkville Mayor Nan Johnston, detectives from the Platte County Sheriff’s Department and any other law enforcement agency probing suspicious activity in that city’s government are wasting their time and your tax money.
“There’s no criminal activity going on. Nor has there been,” Johnston insisted last week in a verbal exchange with a Parkville resident at a board of aldermen meeting.
And listen, if you can’t trust the target of a criminal investigation to tell you there’s nothing criminal going on, who can you trust?
So there you have it. It’s official. Nothing to see here. Everybody shut it down. Last detective to hit the door please turn out the lights.
More thoughts to ponder from Notorious Nan:
.”I’m not aware of any records (that were) withheld from Mr. Maki,” Nan said at last week’s meeting of aldermen.
Wut? So Maki filed a lawsuit just for funsies? And the city then paid Maki $195,000 to go away for more funsies?
The things politicians tell themselves. And the public.
Brett Krause, the Parkville resident who sparred with the mayor in the public comments portion of last week’s board of aldermen meeting, did an excellent job of pinning down the mayor on the topic of taxpayers paying for the criminal defense fees of city officials.
“Any public official acting in official capacity is covered by the city’s insurance. Who would ever run for office if somebody files a complaint and they had to pay their own attorney fees?” Nan says.
“For criminal behavior?” Krause reiterated.
“That has not been proved,” the mayor said. “Anybody can ask for an investigation.”
Krause then pressed the mayor to answer the question that if criminal behavior is proven, the criminal defense fees should not be charged to the residents. “Would you agree?” he asked Nan.
“Not really,” Nan responded.
“For criminal behavior?” Krause pressed.
“Then sue me individually, don’t sue me as an official with the city,” the mayor said. There’s no criminal activity going on. Nor has there been.”
“Let’s let the investigators figure that out,” Krause responded to her.
Ok, there’s a couple of things to unpack here.
1. Sure, anybody can go to law enforcement and ask for a criminal investigation, I suppose. But in this case, according to the police report, a person showed potential evidence to investigators at the sheriff’s department. According to authorities, investigators then met with the county prosecutor to discuss some things. The decision was made to open a criminal investigation. It’s not like Joe Blow walked into the sheriff’s department and yelled “Hey, would you guys please investigate Nan Johnston?” and detectives immediately jumped into action.
2. Nan’s comment “then sue me as an individual, don’t sue me as an official with the city” doesn’t even make sense here, because no one is currently suing her. She–and the city administrator, according to the police report–are listed as suspects in a criminal investigation. The sheriff department’s investigation is not a civil matter. It is alleged criminal activity on the part of individuals. If criminal charges result, the charges will be filed against individuals, not the city. So Krause is spot on when he says city taxpayers should not pay fees for the legal defense of any individual city official in criminal matters.
The fact she apparently believes otherwise makes it no surprise the Parkville mayor has already been found guilty of multiple ethics violations by the Missouri Ethics Commission.
Krause wasn’t done. He had gotten the mayor to say something that won’t play well in the court of public opinion. In fact she had already doubled down on it. He went in for a third time, trying to get her to triple down on her ridiculousness.
“If criminal behavior is proven, do you stand by the fact the city should pay for the legal defense?” he asked Nan one final time.
This time, she started to backtrack, if ever so slightly.
“I don’t know. I don’t know the circumstances,” she responded that time, even though she does, in fact, know the circumstances.
Nan was attending the meeting by Zoom, and by that time the audience could hear the sound of a cell phone alert on her end, similar to the sound of a text message coming into a cell phone. Maybe that was someone texting to urge Nan to stop talking herself into a corner. Because soon she ended the conversation with Krause.
(Foley is always here for the funsies and much more. Email firstname.lastname@example.org)