through a Sunshine Law request show that city officials were not at all pleased with reporter Jordan Aubey's coverage of the $5 million dollar loan from Springfield-based trucking company Prime to former Joplin master developer Wallace-Bajjali.
After Aubey's first report indicated that the city of Joplin may owe money to Prime, public information officer Lynn Onstot sent a February 10 e-mail to Aubey's newsroom bosses, News director Kristi Spencer and news assignment editor Stephanie Marsh, complaining about the veteran reporter's coverage:
Kristi and Stephanie,
City Manager Sam Anselm asked that I forward this to you so you are aware of the occurrence.
I was not present during the interview, however the story that ran did not relate to the original premise of Jordan's request about seeking Prime as a potential developer for Joplin. The story did run was inaccurate and misleading, as Sam's clarification states below. In light of this, and prior incidents similar to this, Sam noted that he will begin recording the interviews he conducts with Jordan.
The city works hard to provide accurate and timely information to the public via news media, as well as other resources, so we appreciate your willingness to help us achieve this goal as we move forward.
Anselm approved the Onstot message to Aubey's bosses, writing "Sounds good," after she sent it to the city manager for his approval.
Aubey's original story had mentioned that Prime could come after the City of Joplin for what it was owed, something which both Anselm and Mayor Michael Seibert told KOAM and the Joplin Globe, which has played a wait-and-see what Jordan Aubey comes up with and then knock it down approach, was not going to happen.
In Aubey's second report on the Joplin/Prime situation, Prime's attorney, Richard Walters, indicated that a lawsuit was indeed a possibility. City officials are in overdrive trying to make sure that does not happen.
The city's approach now appears to be to wait it out until Aubey and KOAM stop running stories or the public loses interest.
In an e-mail, dated February 9, Anselm says simply, "This, too, shall pass."
In his latest report, Aubey reveals that the city has already paid Prime $1 million.
KOAM TV 7