Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Frozen appetizer production plant to bring 220-240 jobs to Joplin

(From Ajinomoto Windsor, Inc.)

Ajinomoto Windsor, Inc., a leading company in the frozen food industry, will support the expansion of its frozen foods business in North America by building a new frozen appetizer production plant in Joplin, Mo., the company announced today. The new facility, which is located near its existing plant in Carthage, will open in late 2017.

The company also announced that it has entered into a sales agreement to transition ownership of its Piedmont, Mo., food manufacturing facility to Today's Food, LLC, an affiliate of Tasty Brands, LLC, a U.S.-based food manufacturer of frozen and refrigerated food products.

"With the new facility in Joplin and our current Carthage plant, Ajinomoto Windsor will be centralizing our Missouri operations to create efficiency for suppliers, end users and management," said the Ajinomoto Windsor Executive Team. "The Piedmont community has supported us for more than 20 years, and we are confident it will offer the same support to Today's Food, LLC."

Frozen appetizers is a food category that grows by 5-8% each year. The $39 million Joplin plant will bring between 220-240 news jobs to the community.

"We are very excited to announce 220-240 new quality jobs for Joplin," noted Governor Greitens, "That's 220-240 families who will now have access to great work. We have been fighting for every single job and this investment in Joplin shows that the world is recognizing that Missouri is open for business."

Ownership of the Piedmont facility is scheduled to transfer to Today's Foods, LLC in early 2018. During this transition, Ajinomoto Windsor's Piedmont facility will remain open and in full operation and customers will see no impact in their service.

"We have been very impressed by the Piedmont community and the employees at the facility," said David Horowitz, President of both Today's Food, LLC, and Tasty Brands, LLC. "We look forward to working with the Ajinomoto Windsor team to smoothly transition the facility to our Missouri-based entity, Today's Food, LLC."

About Ajinomoto Windsor, Inc.
With a vision to create meaningful food experiences through high quality ingredients and innovative technologies, Ajinomoto Windsor, Inc., is a leader in the frozen food industry. We are committed to providing consumers nutritious and premium meals that honor our rich history of diverse ethnic brands. From Asian, Italian, or Mexican flavors – Ajinomoto Windsor satisfies consumers varied tastes with its broad palate of products. It is our mission to create memorable experiences through our meals, and to ensure that our food not only tastes great, but feels great. To learn more about our dedication to bringing quality meals to your table, visit www.ajinomotowindsor.com.

Felony fraud, tax charges filed against JB's Piano Bar owner

A Missouri Department of Revenue investigation into tax and bank records of Joplin businessman Jon Buck has resulted in the filing of charges of filing false sales tax returns and failure to pay sales tax due.

Twenty felony counts were committed with the intent of defrauding the state of Missouri, according to the probable cause statement.

A 1:30 p.m. Monday, June 5, arraignment is scheduled for Buck, 35, before Judge John Nicholas in Jasper County Circuit Court Division 4 in Carthage.

The probable cause statement, written by is printed below:

INVESTIGATIVE FACTS 

1. I am currently assigned to an investigation of Jon Thomas Buck (hereinafter referred to as Buck) and JB's Piano Bar LLC (hereinafter referred to as JBS Piano Bar).

 2. Buck of JB's Piano Bar, filed Articles of Organization for a Limited Liability Company with the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office on September 6, 2010, and received Charter Number #LC1083302. 

According to the Missouri Secretary of State's Office, the company is still active as of the time this probable cause statement was written. 

3. The Missouri Department of Revenue Integrated Tax System (MITS) files shows that on or about October 16, 2010, Buck, member/owner of JB's Piano Bar, applied for a sales tax license and was assigned Missouri Tax Identification Number 20933789 (sales tax license).

4. JBsPiano Bar is a retail establishment which serves food and alcohol and offers various forms, of entertainment. The Missouri Department of Revenue Individual Income Tax System (MINITS) files show that Buck filed federal and state of Missouri income tax returns, for tax years 2014 and 2015. 

For the tax year 2014, Buck completed a federal 1040 Schedule C form for JB’s Piano Bar. According to Buck's federal income tax return, Buck reported that JB's Piano Bar had two hundred eighty seven thousand three hundred thirty seven dollars ($287,337.00) in gross sales. For the tax year 2015, Buck completed a federal 1040 Schedule C form for JB's Piano Bar. 

According to Buck's federal income tax return, Buck reported that JB's Piano Bar had four hundred twenty two thousand eight hundred forty seven dollars ($422,847.00) in gross sales. In reviewing sales tax returns filed quarterly for JB's Piano Bar between the quarterly periods ending December 31, 2013 through March 31, 2016, I discovered discrepancies when comparing them to federal income tax returns filed by Buck. 

In June 2016, I issued subpoenas to Mid-Missouri Bank-and Southwest Missouri bank requesting financial documents pertaining to Buck and his associated businesses including, JB's Piano Bar. 

During my analysis, I located a small-business checking account (Acct #4004) held at Mid-Missouri bank for JB's Piano Bar. Buck was listed as an authorized signer on the account. This account was opened in September 2013. When reviewing the monthly statements, I observed numerous deposits from Heartland Payment Systems, a credit card processing company. 

For the quarterly sales tax period ending December 31, 2013, I discovered forty four thousand seven hundred sixty four dollars and Sixty-nine cents ($44,764.69) in taxable sales. According to the quarterly sales tax return filed by Buck, he reported twenty thousand four hundred fifty seven dollars and twenty-two cents ($20,457.22) in taxable sales, a difference of twenty four thousand three hundred seven dollars and forty-seven cents ($24,307.47). 

For the quarterly sales tax period ending March 31, 2014, I discovered fifty five thousand five hundred forty four dollars and eighty-three cents I ($55,544.83) in taxable sales. According to the quarterly sales tax return filed by Buck, he reported sixteen thousand eight hundred thirty three dollars and ninety-four cents ($16,833.94) in taxable sales, a difference of thirty eight thousand seven hundred ten dollars and eighty-nine cents ($38,710.89).

For the quarterly sales tax period ending June 30, 2014, I discovered forty one thousand five hundred ten dollars and eighty-eight cents ($41,510.88) in taxable sales. According to the quarterly sales tax return filed by Buck, he reported sixteen thousand five hundred twenty two dollars and twenty one cents ($16,522.21). in taxable sales, a difference of twenty four thousand nine hundred eighty eight dollars and sixty-seven cents ($24,988.67). 

For the quarterly sales tax period ending September 30, 2014, I discovered thirty one thousand seven hundred fifty one dollars and forty-seven cents ($31,751.47) in taxable sales. According to the quarterly sales tax return filed by Buck, he reported twelve thousand eight hundred seventy four dollars and fifty-three cents ($12,874.53) in taxable sales, a difference of eighteen thousand eight hundred seventy six dollars and ninety-four cents ($18,876.94). 

For the quarterly sales tax period ending December 31, 2014, I discovered thirty three thousand three hundred eighty three dollars and fifty-two cents ($33,383.52) in taxable sales. According to the quarterly sales tax return filed by Buck, he reported twenty thousand one hundred eighty six dollars and fifty-two cents ($20,186.52) in taxable sales, a difference of thirteen thousand one hundred ninety seven dollars ($13,197.00). 

For the quarterly sales tax period ending March 31, 2015, I discovered sixty one thousand three hundred dollars and fifty-six cents ($61,300.56) in taxable sales. According to the quarterly sales tax return filed by Buck, he reported twenty one thousand seven hundred eighty five dollars ($21,785.00) in taxable sales, a difference of thirty nine thousand five hundred fifteen dollars and fifty-six cents ($39,515.56). 

For the quarterly sales tax period ending June 30, 2015, I discovered one hundred sixteen thousand three hundred ninety five dollars ($116,395.00) in taxable sales. According to the quarterly sales tax return filed by Buck, he reported twenty four thousand one hundred ninety two dollars and thirty nine cents ($24,192.39) in taxable sales, a difference of ninety two thousand two hundred two dollars and Sixty-one cents ($92,202.61). 

For the quarterly sales tax period ending September 30, 2015, I discovered one hundred seven thousand one hundred fifty five dollars ($107,155.00) in taxable sales. According to the quarterly sales tax return filed by Buck, he reported fifteen thousand seven hundred sixty two dollars and thirty-three cents ($15,762.33) in taxable sales, a difference of ninety one thousand three hundred ninety two dollars and sixty-seven cents ($91,392.67).

For the quarterly sales tax period ending December 31, 2015, l discovered seventy six thousand one hundred ninety one dollars and forty-seven cents ($76,191.47) in taxable sales. According to the quarterly sales tax return filed by Buck, he reported eighteen thousand eight hundred seventy five and fifty-three cents ($18,875.53) in taxable sales, a difference of fifty seven thousand three hundred fifteen dollars and ninety-four cents ($57,315.94). 

For the quarterly sales tax period ending March 31, 2016, I discovered seventy eight thousand one hundred forty nine dollars and ninety-five cents ($78,149.95) in taxable sales. According-to the quarterly sales tax return filed by Buck, he reported nineteen thousand four hundred fifty six dollars ($19,456.00) in taxable sales, a difference of fifty eight thousand six hundred ninety three dollars and ninety-five cents ($58,693.95). 

On July 12, 2016, I attempted to contact Buck had JB's Piano Bar, but the business was closed. I left a message with an employee of another business Buck owned and requested that Buck contact me. A short time later, l received a phone call from Buck. I briefly explained to Buck that there are inconsistencies in his income tax returns and sales tax returns filed for JB’S Piano Bar. l asked Buck what credit card processing company he used for JBsPiano Bar and he stated Heartland Payment Systems. 

Buck stated he would review his business records and contact me back. On July 14, 2016, I received another call from Buck. During this phone interview, we discussed the inconsistencies with the taxable sales reported on his quarterly sales tax returns and the gross sales reported on his income tax returns. I asked Buck if he had lowered the amount of taxable sales on his sales tax returns in order to pay less sales tax. Buck stated, "I have done that once or twice. I’m going to be real honest; I'm not going to lie to you."

Buck has willfully, with intent, defrauded the state of Missouri, by falsifying ten (10) quarterly sales tax returns for the quarterly periods ending December 31, 2013 through March 31, 2016 and failed. to pay sales tax owed to the state of Missouri for ten (10) quarterly sales tax periods ending ’ December 31, 2013 through March 31, 2016.

The probable cause statement ends with an assessment of how much money Buck allegedly failed to pay the state in sales tax:

As a result of the criminal acts that Buck committed, the state of Missouri has incurred a loss in the amount of seventy eight thousand five hundred ninety five dollars and twenty-eight cents ($78, 595.28). This total includes a calculation of sales tax due based off previous sales tax returns filed, analysis of bank records, interest, penalties for failure to file/pay quarterly sales tax and fraud penalties for quarterly sales tax periods ending December 31, 2013 through March 31, 2016.

State audit report finds disorganized records, missing money in Ferguson Municipal Court

(From State Auditor Nicole Galloway)

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway has released an audit of the Ferguson Municipal Court in St. Louis County. The audit found a court in disarray with disorganized case files, including some housed in an unsecured storage garage. This caused water and mold damage to many of the court records. Uncooperative and at times combative court and city personnel caused multiple delays that prevented audit staff from gaining access to the files necessary to complete their review. The audit also found $26,000 in illegal fees charged to citizens.

"Considering the lack of cooperation my staff experienced in their official roles as representatives of my office, I can only imagine how average citizens are treated when they are trying to get information about their cases or resolution on serious issues," Auditor Galloway said.

The audit found court records stored in several locations within the city, including a storage garage, the joint police and court building, and city hall. Documents were housed in areas that were not secure and there was no process in place to track the location of the records. Many of the records included personal information that should be protected, such as social security numbers, birthdays, and driver license numbers.

Records storage issues caused multiple problems during the course of the audit, as city and court personnel claimed the files could not be accessed or that documents were too damaged by mold and water to read. During this time no effort was made to move the files to a different location in order to prevent further damage. After months of negotiations, the State Auditor's Office was forced to take the unprecedented step of hiring a mold remediation company to recover and preserve available records in order to complete the audit. Some of the requested files were never recovered, presumably because they were lost or misplaced. This made it difficult to account for all fines, fees and costs submitted to the court.

"My forensic audit team was able to piece together partial records and receipts to indicate that at least $1400 in cash was missing, but the careless way these records were kept may prevent us from ever knowing the total amount," Auditor Galloway said.

Physical storage concerns were compounded by an equally disorganized electronic case management system. The computer system did not include necessary safeguards to prevent inappropriate adjustments or to ensure only authorized staff could access court records.

The audit also identified $26,000 in illegal fees paid by citizens over the course of a year, including a $15 letter fee and a $50 warrant recall fee. The court also charged a $75 non-prosecution fee against anyone who made an initial report, but then did not go forward with charges.

The Ferguson Municipal Court received an overall performance rating of poor, the lowest rating available. Due to the low rating, the State Auditor's Office will return later this year to conduct a follow-up review. A complete copy of the report is available online here.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Former EN superintendent announces retirement, fails to show at board meeting

Former East Newton superintendent Jim Hinson, who suddenly announced his retirement as superintendent of the Shawnee Mission School District last week, failed to show at tonight's SMSD Board of Education meeting.

Board members would not give reporters any reason for Hinson's absence. Hinson, a Carthage native, who at one time served as a principal in the Carthage R-9 School District, is also a former superintendent at Greenfield.

The report is from Kansas City's 41 Action News.

Ed Emery: Prescription drug bill is unreasonable search and seizure

(From Sen. Ed Emery, R-Lamar)

A few weeks ago the Senate passed a version of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), Senate Bill 74 and sent it to the House of Representatives. That bill appears to have been deliberately sidetracked while the House version, House Bill 90 - in my opinion a more invasive and unconstitutional version - was perfected by the Senate last Thursday and is currently in conference to work out the differences between the House and Senate versions. I have opposed and voted against both bills but favor the Senate version because it is far less susceptible to abuse or unlawful access.

House Bill 90 and 68 (a single bill with two numbers) creates an unconstitutional database that by the collection of personal data, violates the fundamental right of Missourians to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures as stated in Article I, Section 15 of the Missouri Constitution. I believe it also violates the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which provides that the citizens of this state shall be secure in their persons, papers, homes and effects from unreasonable searches and seizures. In order for the state to search any place or seize any person or thing, there must be probable cause for the issuance of a warrant. This bill, however, allows the seizing of personal information of every citizen who has been dispensed certain prescribed controlled substances without any probable cause or the issuance of a warrant.

The citizens of this state have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their prescription records and the PDMP is, in essence, a form of surveillance that violates this expectation of privacy. The state should not collect this private information without any basis that a crime has been committed. It flies in the face of the fundamental precepts of state and federal constitutional protections. These precepts are designed to protect citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures where there is no probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed.

Additionally, available data confirms that state PDMPs do not effectively reduce the number of opioid overdose fatalities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while the number of state PDMPs increased from 16 to 49 between 2000 and 2015, prescription drug-related deaths during that same period grew from 7,885 to 29,728. Further, Missouri is the only state without PDMP, which, if such programs were successful, would suggest that Missouri would have the highest number of drug deaths per capita. However, Missouri actually ranks 22nd, meaning that 21 states with PDMPs have higher rates of prescription drug deaths than Missouri with none. Clearly, there is no favorable correlation to support implementing a PDMP in Missouri. One possible reason for the growing numbers of prescription drug-related deaths in states with a PDMP may be the predictable shift from opioids to the least-cost alternative, heroin, which is even more deadly.

Finally, it has been consistently reported that a reasonable estimate of the doctor-shopping portion of opioid abuse is roughly three percent. If Missouri demands full PDMP participation by doctors (100 percent), the maximum impact possible would be 3 percent, which cannot justify the overreach of government and the invasion of privacy created by House Bills 90 and 68. States that do not mandate doctor participation, are seeing far less than full participation which means those states may be impacting less than one percent of the doctor-shopping problem.

In summary, the proposed legislation creating the PDMP is an unconstitutional and unreasonable search and seizure of our personal prescription records and the establishment of PDMPs in other states has not stemmed the tide of opioid abuse sufficient to justify the search and seizure of our prescription records. Shouldn’t we be asking the question – what justifies this clear growth of the power and reach of government? Each of us can hold to our own opinion, but we cannot have our own version of the facts.

Focus on Schools with Brad Douglas: Moss, Ridder interviewed

New Jet HD General Manager Brad Douglas opens his new series, Focus on Schools, with an interview with Superintendent Melinda Moss and Interim Superintendent Norm Ridder.

In the interview Ridder says the transition from him to Moss "is going to be very seamless" and Moss talks about her background and what she has seen since she arrived.

Moss says, "Joplin is set to explode and I mean that in a positive way," she says, referring to changes that began with Ridder.

Severe thunderstorm warning issued for Joplin area

BULLETIN - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
Severe Thunderstorm Warning
National Weather Service Springfield MO
1216 AM CDT WED APR 26 2017

The National Weather Service in Springfield has issued a

* Severe Thunderstorm Warning for...
  Southeastern Cherokee County in southeastern Kansas...
  Northwestern Newton County in southwestern Missouri...
  Jasper County in southwestern Missouri...

* Until 100 AM CDT

* At 1216 AM CDT, a severe thunderstorm was located near Carl
  Junction, or 8 miles northwest of Joplin, moving east at 50 mph.

  HAZARD...60 mph wind gusts and quarter size hail.

  SOURCE...Radar indicated.

  IMPACT...Hail damage to vehicles is expected. Expect wind damage
           to roofs, siding, and trees.

* Locations impacted include...
  Joplin...                         Carthage...
  Webb City...                      Carl Junction...
  Baxter Springs...                 Galena...
  Oronogo...                        Carterville...
  Duquesne...                       Duenweg...
  Diamond...                        Loma Linda...
  Airport Drive...                  Leawood...
  Lowell...                         Silver Creek...
  Alba...                           Purcell...
  Shoal Creek Drive...              Saginaw...

This includes Interstate 44 between mile markers 0 and 22.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

For your protection move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a
building.

Torrential rainfall is occurring with this storm, and may lead to

Severe thunderstorm warning issued for Newton, McDonald counties

BULLETIN - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
Severe Thunderstorm Warning
National Weather Service Springfield MO
1218 AM CDT WED APR 26 2017

The National Weather Service in Springfield has issued a

* Severe Thunderstorm Warning for...
  Southern Newton County in southwestern Missouri...
  McDonald County in southwestern Missouri...

* Until 100 AM CDT

* At 1218 AM CDT, a severe thunderstorm was located near Grove, or 10
  miles northeast of Jay, moving east at 60 mph.

  HAZARD...60 mph wind gusts and quarter size hail.

  SOURCE...Radar indicated.

  IMPACT...Hail damage to vehicles is expected. Expect wind damage
           to roofs, siding, and trees.

* Locations impacted include...
  Neosho...                         Big Sugar Creek State Park...
  Anderson...                       Noel...
  Dodge...                          Goodman...
  South West City...                Pineville...
  Lanagan...                        Fairview...
  Newtonia...                       Stella...
  Cayuga...                         Stark City...
  Tiff City...                      Powell...
  Rocky Comfort...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

For your protection move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a
building.

Intense thunderstorm lines can produce brief tornadoes and widespread
significant wind damage. Although a tornado is not immediately
likely, it is best to move to an interior room on the lowest floor of
a building. This storm may cause serious injury and significant
property damage.

Torrential rainfall is occurring with this storm, and may lead to
flash flooding. Do not drive your vehicle through flooded roadways.

Severe thunderstorm watch issued for Joplin area

(From the National Weather Service)

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH OUTLINE UPDATE FOR WS 159
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
555 PM CDT TUE APR 25 2017

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH 159 IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 200 AM CDT
FOR THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS

MOC011-013-037-097-119-145-217-260700-
/O.NEW.KWNS.SV.A.0159.170425T2255Z-170426T0700Z/

MO
.    MISSOURI COUNTIES INCLUDED ARE

BARTON               BATES               CASS
JASPER               MCDONALD            NEWTON
VERNON

Greitens appoints Kansas City judge to Missouri Supreme Court

(From Gov. Eric Greitens)

Governor Eric Greitens has appointed Judge W. Brent Powell, of Kansas City, to serve as the next judge on the Supreme Court of Missouri.

“The Missouri Supreme Court serves an essential role in maintaining our system of justice, upholding the rule of law, and protecting the Missouri Constitution,” said Governor Greitens. “Appointing a Missouri Supreme Court Judge is an important duty, and it is one I take seriously. I am pleased to name Judge Brent Powell to our state’s highest court.”

Judge Powell has been a Circuit Judge in Jackson County since 2008. Prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Powell served seven years as a federal prosecutor for the United States Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Missouri, and before that, as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for the Platte County Prosecutor’s Office. As a federal prosecutor, Judge Powell was Chief of the General Crimes Unit and the Executive Assistant United States Attorney. He tried more than forty jury trials before being named to the Jackson County Circuit Court by Governor Blunt.

Judge Powell’s docket on the trial bench includes hundreds of significant criminal and civil cases. He currently serves on the Missouri Supreme Court Committee on Procedures in Criminal Cases, the Missouri Advisory Sentencing Commission, the Missouri Supreme Court Committee on Access to Family Courts, and the Missouri Supreme Court Trial Judge Education Committee. In addition to his service within the court system, Judge Powell regularly instructs lawyers as the Lead Master of the Ross T. Roberts Trial Academy of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association.

Judge Powell received his law degree from the University of Missouri School of Law and his undergraduate degree in political science from William Jewell College.

“In his years on the bench, Judge Brent Powell has established himself as an outstanding jurist,” Governor Greitens said. “He has received high marks for being humble, fair-minded, and of the highest integrity. I am confident Judge Powell will be committed to strengthening and improving our court system and guarding the rule of law as a judge on our state’s highest court.”

Governor Greitens selected Judge Powell from a panel of three nominees put forward by the Missouri Appellate Judicial Commission. The position became vacant due to the death of the Honorable Richard Teitelman.