Friday, February 27, 2015

Silver Lining in a Funnel Cloud Preview now available as an e-book

With the impending release of the audits for the Joplin R-8 School District and the City of Joplin, I thought it would be an opportune time to revisit how we got to the position where we are today.

My book, Silver Lining in a Funnel Cloud: How Greed and Corruption Destroyed the Joplin Tornado Recovery, which will be published a few weeks after the release of the city audit, details the story of Joplin from the tornado to the present and eventually will be in the neighborhood of 300 to 400 pages and will offer information on everything from the firing of Mark Roar, the collapse of Wallace-Bajjali, the ups and downs of C. J. Huff to the release of the audits, including the untimely death of State Auditor Thomas Schweich.

Using sources ranging from videos, recordings (secret and otherwise), government documents, court records, and interviews, I have done my best to tell the story of how Joplin's recovery changed from being the feel good story for the ages to a cautionary tale of how not to let dreams and ambitions outweigh necessity.

As of a few moments ago, the preview edition, the first 10 chapters of the book and approximately 100 pages, depending on your reader, is available in an e-book format from Amazon Kindle. This is the edition that was released to a select few readers a week ago.

The chapters include the following:

Chapter One- The tornado hits and this chapter takes three of Joplin's leaders, City Manager Mark Rohr, Superinrendent C. J. Huff and Assistant Superintendent Angie Besendorfer through the tornado and the period right after it.

Chapter Two- Mark Rohr's first press conference at 5:30 a.m. Monday, May 23, background on how Rohr arrived at this point in his career, C. J. Huff is interviewed by Fox News' Greta Van Susteren in his first brush with fame; Huff tries Disaster Recovery for Dummies as he tries to figure out what to do.

Chapter Three- David Wallace of Wallace-Bajjali learns about the tornado; Mayor Mike Woolston sees the town he knows totally changed and two schools he attended destroyed;. Woolston, Rohr, Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce President Rob O'Brian and the beginning of the Citizen Advisory Recovery Team (CART).

Chapter Four- Angie Besendorfer begins to dream of what the Joplin R-8 School District can become; Besendorfer's background, including Lamar and her turbulent time as superintendent of the Reeds Spring School District, her arrival in Joplin and losing the superintendent job to C. J. Huff

Chapter Five- C. J. Huff announces there will be school, how the R-8 Board of Education behaved during that time. Huff and Besendorfer threaten to fire anyone staff member who talks to the media.

Chapter Six- Barack Obama and the Westboro Baptist Church arrive in Joplin, the Joplin Tornado Memorial Service; Mark Rohr delivers a speech at the Moment of Silence and turns people's thoughts from death toward recovery.

Chapter Seven- How Bright Futures came into being. details on C. J. Huff's background that led him to begin Bright Futures, one major claim about Bright Futures that simply is not true; how C. J. Huff worked to bring up the Joplin High School graduation rate.

Chapter Eight- How Bright Futures USA hijacked Joplin Tornado recovery funds and how Ron Richard and the Joplin legislative team helped it do so; Angie Besendorfer makes it possible for school to start on time, the truth about how the MODOT building became the administration building for Joplin R-8, how R-8 officials decided to tear down a perfectly good two-year-old middle school that could have been reopened in time for the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year.

Chapter Nine- David Wallace comes to Joplin, CART takes over, Wallace pushes for Joplin to hire a master developer, Mike Woolston and Jane Cage go to Waco to examine Wallace-Bajjali projects. Councilman Ben Rosenberg offers the only opposition to the hiring of the master developer

Chapter Ten-  David Wallace unveils his $794 million plan, what Missouri Southern State University President Bruce Speck was doing while other leaders were making their presence known after the tornado and how one of Speck's wildest ideas became a keystone in David Wallace's plan.


Anonymous said...

Huff and Besendorfer threaten to fire anyone staff member who talks to the media.

To me, this is one of the most clear cut signs something was terribly wrong, that their first concern about the staff was not their well being, or anything to do with their students, but to shut them up with their first post tornado robocall to them.

Anonymous said...

I read the whole thing straight through. It is so helpful to have all of the events and information in one organized place. The tornado part made me cry--I try not to think about that too much these days--but that made me even angrier to think about how our school and city leaders took advantage of us at such a time. I am ready to get the "rest of the story" as soon as you make it available. And I will be there Tuesday to see how Dr. Huff explains himself. Thank you, Mr. Turner, for your efforts to inform us all.

Anonymous said...

This was good stuff! Reads kind of like a novel but has the unfortunate truths in it. What a bunch of greedy jerks. Thanks for clarifyiing what they did for us. Wish it was all over.

Anonymous said...


I will never forget that first meeting with Besendorfer. She was launching into her script about what we shall/shall not do when she realized she had forgotten the opening line--saying she was glad we were all alive--and then she tried to stumble around and go back to it. Hateful bag. She got her message through loud and clear. I already disliked her. After that meeting I had not a shred of respect left for the whole group.

Anonymous said...

I stayed up and read it to the end. Great and informative. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

It's really no mystery why you got fired. These people had a lot to hide and you exposed them. There is no place too low for these people. And the school board protects them. Must be part of it. Maybe the rest of the book can give us some ideas why that is.

I'll definitely be there for CJ's explanation come Tuesday.

Anonymous said...

A M E N !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @6:14 AM:

We are learning that there are serious consequences when your major public institutions, city, school district and local college, are run by sociopathic thugs and something unusually disruptive happens like the tornado. It can bring out the worst in some people.

Although Besendorfer's callousness could be in a league of its own.

Anonymous said...

Now I cannot wait for the audits so you can write the rest of this sad story. Good grief. They have no shame at all. None. They should be in jail and I hope the audits show that. I'm with 6:27--I'll be there to see what Dr. Huff has to say for himself. I"m sure it'll all be...

For our kids

Anonymous said...

Wallace and Bajjali definitely need to be locked. They are off and will be scamming a new group of people soon. They cannot keep doing this. They need to be off the streets so they don't steal from innocent people.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Anyone planning to vote in the upcoming school board election needs to read this. Shameful example of greed, opportunism, cronyism, and duplicity. Huff must go and all of his staff with him. Putting Koch, Roberts, and Martucci on the board will ensure this madness stops. Keeping Sharp and putting in Good and Campbell will ensure the abuse of power keeps going on.

Anonymous said...

I would bet that the Joplin Progress Committee will endorse Sharp, Campbell and Good.

All the more reason to vote for Martucci, Koch and Roberts.