In his latest article following up on the Anderson Guest House fire, Joplin Globe reporter Derek Spellman examines those violations and the state's inaction:
A review of more than 3,200 pages of state records shows that despite problems, the state didn't pull the trigger on DuPont or organizations affiliated with him. He and they continued to obtain licenses and permits, although often on a probationary basis. Existing state laws and regulations enabled DuPont and/or his companies to continue running homes despite a history of problems, so long as they implemented corrective plans for violations within several months from the date of the citations.
Globe reporter Andy Ostmeyer interviewed local legislators to see what steps they plan to take during the 2007 session to address the problems revealed by the Guest House tragedy:
"This is my No. 1 priority for the year," state Rep. Kevin Wilson, R-Neosho, said Friday, after the Globe learned that state investigators were tipped off in 2005 to the fact that Robert DuPont was allegedly running the group homes despite his previous felony conviction, and yet state officials did not follow up on it.
Anderson is in Wilson's district.
"I am dismayed that this has fallen through the cracks," Wilson said.