Thursday, October 12, 2017

City of Joplin: $170,000 missing from Hope Valley CID

It certainly was not hard to see this coming.

A few moments ago, the City of Joplin issued a news release revealing that $170,000 was missing from the Hope Valley CID.

The revelation came following a Highway Patrol investigation requested by the city after Darrell Gross, a consultant for the CID, was arrested on felony charges involving theft from the Big Springs Plaza CID in Neosho.

The city's news release is printed below:

At the October 16, 2017 City Council meeting, an ordinance will be presented to name three new members to the Hope Valley Community Improvement District (CID) Board; Brandon Davis, Charles Genisio, and Brian Christmas. These local individuals will take the place of three board members whose terms have expired. The City believes it is important not to delay the appointment of these three individuals to the CID, and because of this, feels it is necessary to provide an update on the Hope Valley CID.

In August, the City of Joplin became aware of some questionable transactions in the Hope Valley CID bank account and asked the Missouri Highway Patrol to investigate the bank accounts for any improper activity or missing money. The MSHP is still conducting their investigation.

The City has undertaken its own investigation into the Hope Valley CID bank account and believes that there is a substantial amount of money that is unaccounted for, approximately $170,000. The City is aware that Darrell Gross, who was authorized to receive the tax revenue generated by the CID from the Missouri Department of Revenue and on the Hope Valley CID bank account, was charged with three felony counts of Receiving Stolen Property in Newton County Associate Circuit Court, that generally alleges that he forged a document and stole $12,633.49 from the Big Springs Plaza (Neosho) CID bank accounts. On September 1, 2017, Darrell Gross resigned from his role with the Hope Valley CID. The Hope Valley CID bank account, (which is now closed), lists Darrell Gross’ address on the account statement, and the monthly statements show regular withdrawals, transfers, and checks being written. None of the current CID board members, including the Hope Valley Developer Kevin Steele, authorized any of these transactions.

The City has taken steps to redirect the tax revenue to ensure that it is protected, and looks forward to the MSHP completing its investigation to provide more clarity on the whereabouts of the unaccounted-for money.

Note: A Community Improvement District is an association of property owners in a defined area that voluntarily tax themselves in order to fund improvements within the district's boundaries. The Hope Valley CID is its own political subdivision and petitioned the City of Joplin in 2015 to form the CID and assess a 1% sales tax on the businesses within the taxing district. The CID Board is responsible for governing its own affairs and appoints legal representatives of the property owners in the CID to serve as board members. The Board is responsible to collect the tax revenue from the State of Missouri and then use that money in accordance with the Cooperative Agreement with the City of Joplin; namely, to use the money for infrastructure and other improvements that are provided for in the Cooperative Agreement. The City must approve all of the expenses for which the CID seeks reimbursement. Since no development has occurred, no expenses have been submitted to the City.


Anonymous said...

I thought the City indicated in the beginning that there was no funds missing. How could they have been so off?

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. The same place the money for Connect2Culture will be going. In someone's pocket.

The same place all the millions of tornado dollars were wasted.

There should be outside auditors to balance the City books every month.
Someone in another City-State that has no ties to anyone on the City Council.

Drain the Swamp at the next election.

Anonymous said...


dumb and dumber and the taxpayer money is goner said...

Who are the Hope Valley CID members WHOSE NAMES ARE NOT MENTIONED IN THE CITY OF JOPLIN PRESS RELEASE whose terms have expired?

Are they the same ones that allegedly held only one meeting since the CID was formed?

"NewsTalk KZRG is still attempting to contact the other members of the Hope Valley CID Board of Directors. Those members are:

Dr. Richard Joseph Jr. of Joplin

Kevin Steele of Joplin

Jon Stouffer, President of Granby Telephone Company

Justine Postorino of Springfield. "

Kevin Steele?

THE SAME KEVIN STEELE OF JOPLIN as mentioned in here?

Mike Woolston and the case that Dean Dankelson ignored
The state auditor issued a report that accused Joplin City Councilman Mike Woolston of behavior that, at best, might be considered unethical. At worst, it might be an invitation to criminal charges.

""Council member Woolston did not abstain from voting (or disclose his business relationship with the developer) on an ordinance approving a tax increment financing redevelopment plan involving Kevin Steele, a developer with whom he co-owns a local realty company.

"During the July 7, 2014, council meeting, the council approved the Hope Valley Tax Increment Financing Redevelopment Plan, which established a redevelopment area and designated Hope Valley Development Group, Inc., a group that includes Kevin Steele as the designer of the redevelopment project.'"

Surprise Surprise Surprise!

Anonymous said...

Wasn't former Mayor/Coucilman Woolston involved with this project?

Anonymous said...

How many of the City Council members own multiple properties in Joplin? How many were purchased after they started serving? How much obtained since the tornado?

Anonymous said...

Any other business – Mr. Scearce referred to the City Attorney on whether it was an ethics violations if you do not vote in here but you lobby Council Members outside on projects you have an interest in. (referring to abstaining) City Attorney Edwards told Mr. Scearce that was a complex question and he would request a little time to research and bring him back an answer. Mr. Scearce asked him if he would bring us back an answer.

Anonymous said...

I went back and reviewed past articles and news stories and the City of Joplin indicated on several occasions that there was no issue with the Hope Valley CID monies. How is it that they are now saying that there is $173K missing? How in the world could they have been so wrong? Where was the accountability? Whether through it's own negligence/misuse/misappropriation, the City of Joplin continues to demonstrate that it cannot to any acceptable standard appropriate handle and manage taxpayer's monies. I would highly encourage the State Auditor to do a comprehensive and extensive review of all tax revenues, how these are being spent, and the processes that the City uses to use these revenues. I believe this Hope Valley issue is just another symptom of a much larger problem which begins with accountability.

Anonymous said...

Putting Brian Christmas on this board would be a Huge mistake.... What are they thinking?

Anonymous said...

This city has turned into a cesspool of greed . Hard to claim residency here anymore .

BOHICA said...

More culture would cure this kind of problem!

Only the right kind of culture though.

The kind that the CONnect2Kulture can bring to Joplin!

$14 to $16 million will draw culture like sh*t draws flies!

Anonymous said...

The City has taken steps to redirect the tax revenue to ensure that it is protected, and looks forward to the MSHP completing its investigation to provide more clarity on the whereabouts of the unaccounted-for money.

"More clarity on the whereabouts of the unaccounted-for money"

Here's a wild guess...that money is GONE!



But maybe the city of Joplin will figure that out in the next six months or so.

Anonymous said...

Did The Chamber have any hand in promoting this CID? Smells like another joke

Steve Holmes said...

Has anyone seen Mike Woolston in past few months? At the time of his resignation, Woolston said he planned to grow his real-estate business, but he disappeared from the business pages. No realtor does that.

Anonymous said...

The City of Joplin has a long history of mismanaging it's money. Do any of you remember the time the City lost over twenty million dollars in the Junk Bond Market?

attention anonymous 624AM said...

There is a long history of municipal incompetence in Joplin.

The Joplin municipal electric light plant was a management and financial disaster. In 1916!

Anonymous said...

It's Leslie Haase, the finance director. She needs to get her walking papers. She is not competent for her job. She just tries to bully and since she holds the ledgers, she has the controlling power. And the city council is made up of a bunch of incompetent members of the community

Randy said...

A message to the jackass who keeps commenting "I'm sure it's CJ's fault," on dozens of posts on this blog. It wasn't funny the first several times you wrote it and this will be the last time the comment will be printed on this blog. You sound like the one who has the obsession.

Anonymous said...

Brian Christmas lives in Oronogo, so Why is he being appointed to this board for the CID which originates in and for the City of Joplin? Didn't the last swindler live outside of the city limits???? This needs to stop now. If you don't live in our city you shouldn't be representing it...

Anonymous said...

The City said they became aware of questionable transactions in August 2017. The similar situation with Mr. Gross in Neosho was first reported quite a few months earlier. If they were working with Mr. Gross I would think that hearing about Neosho would prompt the City to look into it right away. It makes me wonder if they were made aware of it earlier than August when it first came out in Neosho.