As noted in the Turner Report Thursday, Huff mentions no speaking fees during those years in the financial disclosure forms he is required to file with the Missouri Ethics Commission. Superintendents are required to sign the forms, signifying that the information they have given is the truth, under penalty of perjury.
Yet a representative of the Washington Speakers Bureau says Huff speaks frequently and charges $8,000 plus travel expenses for those speeches.
And over the past two years, Huff has gone to extraordinary lengths to prevent the public and his employers, the Board of Education, from knowing just how many speeches he has been making and where those speeches are taking place.
In July 2013, I wrote about one of his attempts to curb information..
In the months following the May 22, 2011, Joplin Tornado, as I tried to link to as many tornado-related items as I could on The Turner Report, one thing I did on a regular basis was to publicize when Joplin officials were going to speak at various locations.
During that time, I posted stories about speaking engagements by such local notables as City Manager Mark Rohr, Fire Chief Mitch Randles, Emergency Director Kent Stammer, and Joplin R-8 Assistant Superintendent Angie Besendorfer.
I made it a practice when I knew about these speaking engagements to run the stories before, then to check afterwards and see if there were any articles or YouTube videos and to post them or links to them, also.
A few months after the tornado, I received an e-mail from Joplin R-8 Superintendent C. J. Huff asking me not to run any more posts before his speaking engagements because he "had received threats" and he was "worried" about his family.
I never asked about the nature of those threats and I have never heard anything about them since.
I stopped writing about Huff's speeches at that point. After all, he was my boss and it was clear he did not want the speaking engagements mentioned.
Huff also wasted no time jumping on the Joplin High School students whose Joplin Schools Watch blog revealed in July 2013 that he was making $8,000 per speech from his speeches. Shortly after the post that included the recording of the Washington Speakers Bureau representative saying how often Huff made speaking appearances and how much money he made, Huff started a full-court press designed to muzzle the students.
Pressure was placed on both of the high school students, as well as their parents. The blog was eventually shut down.
Nothing else was written about the speaking engagements by the students after their initial post on Joplin Schools Watch, but the effects of that post concerned C. J. Huff enough that he proposed a story on the school district's travel expenses to the Joplin Globe, which assigned reporter Emily Younker. The story ran only a few days after the Joplin Schools Watch item.
In that story, it was revealed that the district had spent $89,000 for Huff's thank-you tour following the tornado. Jeff Flowers, who was board president at the time, said the board had approved all of the travel, and in one paragraph, the Washington Speakers Bureau situation was addressed with Huff saying the Bureau had approached him, he had made only one speech for them and that was it.
Nothing more was ever mentioned about the subject in the Joplin Globe.
Maybe he told Carol Stark he and his family had been receiving threats.