Despite what Assistant Attorney General David Margolis said in the item below in The Turner Report about no conflict of interest existing for Todd Graves after his wife and numerous others connected with him received gold-mine license fee offices from Governor Matt Blunt, those fee offices are still appearing to be an albatross around the governor's neck.
Of particular interest in this area, is the fiasco surrounding the awarding of the license fee office in Lamar. First, a news release went out saying that former State Representative Bubs Hohulin had been awarded the office. The decision had been made after Hohulin had submitted an operating plan, according to Department of Revenue spokesmen. After a firestorm, which included the filing of ethics charges against Blunt by the Missouri Democratic Party, which noted that Hohulin was already picking up a sizable state salary as an assistant to State Senator Carl Vogel, R-Jefferson City, suddenly that news release meant nothing. Hohulin was quoted as saying he wasn't sure if he would accept the contract.
Then The Ethics Commission dismissed the complaint because Hohulin had never officially been awarded the fee office contract. Of course, Hohulin was already advertising for workers and had already found a new location, albeit a poor one with little parking available, for the office. A DOR spokesman told The Joplin Globe Hohulin was no longer under consideration for the position.
Then in a slap in the face, not only to Missouri Democrats, but also to Barton County Republicans, who did not want Hohulin to run the office in the first place, the DOR announced that the contract would go to Mrs. Hohulin. It did not say if she submitted a new operating plan, or if she was allowed to use Bubs' leftovers. Of course, the governor did not allow anyone else to submit any plans to see if they would be preferable to the Hohulin model.
Now, without explanation, and a in a news release which did not even mention the name Hohulin, all of a sudden it is announced there will be no change in the location of the fee office for the time being, or even in the person who runs it, former Lamar Municipal Judge Bob Medlin, a Democrat.
The awarding of fee offices to political cronies, and as it has been well reported, Blunt and Hohulin served together in the House of Representatives, has been a joke for a long time in Missouri, but Blunt has shown he does not even know how to handle a political spoils system.
Why not just come out and admit that these offices have been awarded to old buddies and people who have donated money to his campaigns? Why this pretense of having business plans. If there are business plans, now is the time to show them, including the one submitted by Hohulin. This is public information. And if there were other plans submitted for these offices, let's see those, too, so we can determine why every one who had a good business plan just happened to have a connection to the governor.
The governor and the DOR spokespeople have said that business plans were required. The people of Missouri are the ones who will benefit if these fee offices are run well...and they are the ones who will pay dearly if incompetent people are put in charge as part of a political payback scheme.
Let's see the business plans.