Mayor testifies about destroying records

Nan Johnston: ‘I used to be merely cleansing up recordsdata’

Parkville Mayor Nan Johnston has testified earlier than an investigatory committee claiming that she didn’t delete paperwork from her non-public electronic mail server that have been subpoenaed as proof throughout a civil lawsuit regardless of a big of quantity of proof demonstrating she did. (Editor’s be aware: Facts, proof submitted and timeline relating to Johnston’s destruction of proof have been obtained by The Landmark and will be seen on the Platte County Landmark’s web site at this hyperlink:

In Johnston’s testimony, she addressed the emails that have been deleted from her non-public electronic mail server regardless of a subpoena and court docket order to supply them.

“I used to be merely cleansing up recordsdata and never even considering about that it would look unhealthy,” Johnston testified. Evidence signifies that Johnston deleted a whole electronic mail field along with the person recordsdata and emails she talked about.

Johnston additionally claimed that she had no data that an space resident didn’t obtain the general public records he had requested in an open records dispute. That disagreement resulted in almost $450,000 in authorized charges and settlement prices to the Parkville taxpayer. The $195,000 settlement is regarded as the most important Sunshine Law settlement in Missouri’s historical past.

Johnston testified final Wednesday in a gathering of the Parkville Ethics Commission after members have been known as to analyze conduct alleging Johnston broke the town’s ethics code and violated code governing the conduct and anticipated conduct of these serving in public workplace. The grievance, written by resident Elaine Kellerman states Johnston broke the regulation, the town’s ethics code in a number of cases and requires her removing from workplace.

In her testimony, Johnston instructed fee members she was shocked to study Jason Maki, who requested quite a few metropolis records underneath the Sunshine Law, had not acquired all of the paperwork he requested.

“I used to be not conscious records weren’t launched,” she stated. “That was not the intent of the board of aldermen or me. I simply thought it was a carried out deal.”

The Platte County Sheriff’s Department confirmed a number of months in the past that it has launched a legal investigation into actions by Parkville officers.

During her testimony to the fee, Johnston stated she solely discovered of the sheriff’s investigation into her actions and the City of Parkville when contacted by space media.

She additionally acknowledged that she has not been interviewed by the sheriff’s division for his or her investigation.

When reached by phone, Platte County Sheriff’s Department Major Erik Holland stated he couldn’t touch upon investigation because it’s ongoing. However, when requested about Johnston’s remark that she had not been contacted by the sheriff’s division about the investigation and solely discovered of it when contacted by space media, Holland stated, “I can’t remark as to the statements by the mayor, however the metropolis could be very conscious we’re conducting an investigation,” he stated.

Commissioners requested Johnston why the Maki lawsuit was settled out of court docket, earlier than going to trial, if the town had carried out nothing improper. They requested if a settlement was the directive of the town’s insurance coverage service. Johnston stated that she is aware of the reply to that query, however, attributable to ongoing litigation, thought she mustn’t reveal that info.

When requested this week to remark, Maki acknowledged that the town didn’t have an insurance coverage service concerned and “the choice to settle was their very own and never influenced or compelled by an insurance coverage supplier.”

Maki additionally acknowledged, “it’s foolish that the mayor wouldn’t reply that query, it’s a matter of public document. Perhaps she’s attempting to mislead individuals by being evasive in her reply.”

Johnston testified: “I feel the board simply needed this to be over and determined to settle figuring out it might value a complete lot extra (if the case continued).”

She added she was “adamantly opposed” to settling the lawsuit, saying that it was not a unanimous resolution.

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