Exclusive! Depo Says City Hall Tracked 2011 Mayor & Council Candidates Tax Filings Back 20 Years
July 5, 2011

KMBC 9 News reported tonight officials at the City Hall of Kansas City, Missouri say they checked the tax records of practically all the candidates for Mayor and City Council in 2011 spring elections.

The revelation came in a videotaped deposition taken from Kansas City Revenue Commissioner Mari Ruck.

The deposition is part of the legal battle between  former candidate Michael Fletcher and the City.

Fletcher was banned from running for the council this spring in a residency dispute.

During the recent deposition, Fletcher  asked Ruck about how often his tax filings were checked. She told him in the video they checked his filing, and his law firm’s,  from 1991-2001. Ruck says 1991 was when city computer records started. 

Here is part of the deposition.

Fletcher:  “With respect to the 20* other citizens of this city, who were willing to sacrifice their time and effort and money and heart, in running for the City Council, you searched their records for 20 years, correct?

(*Approximately 40 people ran for office in Kansas City in the Spring. The number was a misstatement that was corrected later.)

Attorney for the City: I object to the form of the question. And the nice closing argument. Go ahead and answer.

Ruck: Yes.

Fletcher: and you searched their corporate identities, going back 20 years?

Ruck:  If they had them.

Fletcher: OK. And you did so without notifying them, correct?

Ruck: Yes.

Fletcher: And you did so without a court order?

Ruck: Yes.

Ruck says that was done at the direction of KC Finance Director randy Landes. He says  the City regularly checks the tax filings of candidates for the previous two years, as the Charter requires. Another state law says candidates for office must be current on all their taxes. 

Landes says when tax filings are checked  “we work with each candidate”.

Landes declined chance to speak on-camera about the policy. He says he was told by the City Attorney’s office the City does not comment on matters that are in litigation.

A number candidiates who ran, and some who won their Spring campaigns expressed surprise the tax records check went back 20 years. But none of them wanted to go on camera for a TV interview Tuesday.

City Council Candidate Pays Late Personal Property Tax
March 9, 2011

The ‘Gotcha’ politics of the Kansas City’s 3rd District City Council race continues.

Candidate Jermaine Reed told ’20 Pounds’ Tuesday night he paid a $438 late Jackson County personal property tax bill on-line.

“It was just an oversight”, said Reed. “I got wrapped up in the campaign and missed the deadline. I apologize.”

The 3rd District race has been more about who lives where and who’s entitled to run than any particular issue.

Earlier this week, the Missouri Court of Appeals upheld the disqualification of candidate Micheal Fletcher over legal issues surrounding his residency.

He is now off the ballot.  Fletcher, however,  is now threatening to launch a recall effort against whoever survives the March 22 vote.

Reed, is challenging incumbent council woman Sharon Sanders Brooks. She won the primary last month. Fletcher finished second, even though he was disqualified. Reed finished third.

Fletcher Appeals Ruling, “Fast and Loose With the Facts”
March 8, 2011

The full opinion is out in the Michael Fletcher appeal.

The Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed a Jackson County Trial Judge who disqualified Fletcher from the 3rd district City Council ballot.

Here is a portion of the Court of Appeals opinion where the judges explain why they were not persuaded in Fletcher’s claim he always intended to remain a Kansas City resident.

Part of the problem is he filed legal papers in a California federal court stating he was now living and working in California as recently as 2010.

Part of the opinion reads, “The bulk of the representations made in Fletcher’s federal litigation were filed by him in April and October of 2010, which is in disturbingly close proximity to when Fletcher signed his candidate affidavit for Office on November 9, 2010. This affidavit attested to the fact that Fletcher met ―the qualifications for the office I am seeking as defined in the City Charter of Kansas City, Missouri.Accordingly, based on all of the above, we do not believe that it is a stretch to find that Fletcher was ―playing fast and loose with the court.

Fletcher next contends that ―[i]t is no argument to say that Mr. Fletcher‘s evidence was credible and persuasive on the issue of his Missouri residency while at the same time pronouncing that his use in a prior pleading of the term ‘domicile‘ constitutes an inconsistent statement rising to the level of playing ‘fast and loose‘ with the Court.

But what Fletcher ignores is that he created the tension of which he now complains by being factually inconsistent in two separate legal actions. Had Fletcher contended that he was domiciled in Missouri in the federal litigation there would be no clearly inconsistent position, and thus the instant situation is one of his own making.

Moreover, our analysis is not predicated solely on the fact that Fletcher‘s clearly inconsistent position was at best disingenuous and self-serving, because the Missouri Supreme Court has held that the rule of judicial estoppel is also to preserve the dignity of the courts and insure order in judicial proceedings.”…

3rd District Council Woman Sharon Sanders Brooks Calls for Unity after Fletcher Ruling (see previous posts)
March 7, 2011

Appeals Court Rules Against Fletcher. He Pledges Recall Campaign Against 3D Winner
March 7, 2011

The Missouri Appeals Court has upheld the disqualification of 3rd district city council candidate Michael Fletcher.
The exceptionally fast ruling was prompted by the need to begin printing ballots for the March 22 City elections.
The court affirmed the disqualification after less than an hour of deliberation. Fletcher’s problem is residency.
While he owns a house in Kansas city and lives in a 3rd district apartment, he also has a home and family in Long Beach, California. He moved there in 2006.
He also filed. Papers in federal court in California saying he now lives and works there.
The judges were in agreement with the trial court that Fletcher was trying to have it both ways.
After the ruling Fletcher said he intended to launch a recall campaign against who wins the 3rd district race; incumbent Sharon Sanders Brooks, or Jermaine Reed.
Fletcher says the ruling by three white judges at the appeals level and white judge at the trial level means whites were picking the elected official for a city council district that has an overwhelming black majority.