Monday, September 21, 2015
City's evidence against Woolston is overwhelming
The only problem with that is that the evidence collected for his hearing, which would have been held tonight if the agreement had not been reached, is overwhelming.
The more than 400 pages of evidence KOAM reporter Jordan Aubey received after filing a Sunshine Law request does not necessarily prove that Woolston committed any crime, but they show a complete shattering of any ethical boundaries in connection with Woolston's dealings with property owners in the 20th and Connecticut area and Woolston's own words remove any doubt that he used his position as a councilman to curry favor with the Planning and Zoning Commission for Joplin businessman Charlie Kuehn.
Much of the more than 400 pages comes from two sources, the recently completed state audit of the City of Joplin and the Loraine Report. Much of the evidence was featured in my book Silver Lining in a Funnel Cloud: Greed, Corruption, and the Joplin Tornado.
And while the statement absolving Woolston has no bearing on any investigations being conducted by law enforcement agencies, the idea that the only way for the city to move forward is to agree to all of the conditions set down by Woolston's lawyer is ridiculous.
In the agreement, the only thing Woolston conceded was that he had not been "transparent" enough.
Unfortunately, in this instance, he is totally transparent and so are those who are pushing that his resignation be accepted as is.
When City Attorney Peter Edwards violated the Sunshine Law by polling individual council members to see if they would accept the agreement and the statement, five council members- Mayor Michael Seibert, Morris Glaze, Miranda Lewis, Gary Shaw, and Ryan Stanley- voted yes. Three, Rosenberg, Melodee Colbert-Kean, and Bill Scearce voted against it.
Tonight's formal acceptance of the deal (which is necessary since the first vote was illegal) will most likely return the same result. It would be much better for transparency and for the truth if at least one more council member rejected the agreement.
I can understand why Woolston would not want to go through a hearing since anything he says can be used against him by law enforcement. The public is not demanding such a hearing for Woolston. His resignation would be enough.
But not a resignation that says Woolston did not do anything wrong.
The people of Joplin deserve better.
Mike Woolston, Mark Rohr, C. J. Huff, Angie Besendorfer, David Wallace- their stories and more can be found in the pages of Silver Lining in a Funnel Cloud: Greed, Corruption, and the Joplin Tornado, which is available locally at Always Buying Books, Changing Hands Book Shoppe, and The Book Guy in Joplin, Pat's Books in Carthage, and Cato's Connection in Lamar. It is also available in paperback and e-book formats from Amazon.com