When you've committed murder hire OJ Simpson's dream team.
Missouri politicians who violate public trust hire attorney's James Meadows and John Holstein, "Missouri's Corruption Dream Team".
Before representing the "City of Branson", Meadows and Holstein were hired by the state to represent former Governor Matt Blunt during a heated gubernatorial race where "Sunshine Law Violations" were the source of some very public political attacks. Blunt's political opponent, former Missouri Attorney General and now Missouri Governor Jay Nixon was leading the investigation. A primary issue at hand was the responsibility of government to retain documents.
Holstien argued politicians have a right to destroy documents after a short period of time. Eventually Holstein conceded to "error" and approx $500,000 from tax coffers were used to pay off Kimberling City Attorney Scott Eckersley.
Unfortunately, the governments right to destroy public information never went to trial. Eckersley. an idealist young Republican eventually left the party and ran against Congressman Billy Long on a Democratic ticket in an unsuccessful bid for Missouri's 7th Congressional District seat. $100,000 of the taxpayer funded payout was used to fund Eckersly's campaign.
Current Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster hasn't taken a hard stand on the issue but has assigned personnel to help state political bodies learn compliance terms; however, prosecution of "Sunshine Law" violations haven't increased to any substantial degree. Moreso the lingering question of whether bodies can freely destroy documents has enabled a massive whitewash by less honorable politicians.
Branson Mayor Raeanne Presley is one of these politicians who claim the right to destroy public documents while the status remains in question.
Prior to becoming mayor Presley was an active advocate of open government policies. Involved in several lawsuits against the city of Branson and an unsuccessful effort to stop the Branson Landing and build a "Great Mall of America" through public subsidies on Presley family property; Presley ranked third in public information requests.
2008 Budgets reveal that Presley was allocated $4,000,000 for an expense labeled "Branson Mayor and Board of Alderman". Open meeting requests for the documents have been denied.
Holstein's employment has been carefully hidden from the press. The former Supreme Court Justice charges a pretty penny for his services and the exact amount Branson taxpayers are paying hasn't been clarified - even thought they've been requested through application of Missouri's Sunshine Law during public Branson Board of Alderman sessions.
After firing Holstein's son-in-law and former Branson City Attorney Paul Link, Presley hired Attorney Tim Davis. During a brief period of Branson's history where Mrs. Presley promised the City of Branson would start complying with open government statutes, Davis' contract was posted for public view. Holstien's contract has not been released though it has been requested.
Davis had an official position as Branson City Attorney; but this position was only to conceal his responsibilities. Davis would later state, "I was working with Branson on a specific issue and I'm not at liberty to disclose exactly what that issue was'.
In fact, when Davis attempted to address some very serious social problems he was shot down, reminded he had a specific place and was eventually released from a position he was paid to hold yet never allowed to assume responsibility for. During a public outcry over Presley's attempts to default on a "pay per performance" contract with the Branson Airport, documents reveal it was his duty to try to undo Link's financial commitment. At the time, Branson's Board of Alderman was split on the issue of Presley's ethics in regards to meeting the contractual obligation.
Holstien, who has yet to be mentioned by any of Branson's weekly newspapers or radio news outlets appeared in a court proceeding with Community Bank of the Ozarks. A contract with Community Bank of the Ozarks enabled Doug Coverdell to finance a defense from a quiet title suit where Empire District Electric sued the City of Branson, Doug Coverdell and six other parties. While the City of Branson is a defendant, a seperate lawsuit claims Branson collaborated with Empire District Electric to steal land in order to build the Branson Landing project. Coverdell also alleges that Holstien acquired his personal financial records and co-operated with the bank to pull the loan. During testimony
Community Bank of the Ozarks ...To be continued....