February 01, 2008

Madam Mayor (flip) flops on You Paid For It

Elliott Davis and the You Paid For It crew paid a visit to O'Fallon Mayor Donna Morrow last week to discuss the city's role in the ongoing Koch Road scandal. I will be posting a copy of the story once it becomes available on the Fox 2 St. Louis web site. In the mean time I have set out below (as best I could since Morrow constantly interrupted Davis) the questions asked by Davis and Morrow's answers, but first let me provide some back ground:

Four families bought homes (estimated at $300,00) from McBride & Sons that were built on a public easement upon which a public road, Koch Road, ran. St. Charles County had voted to vacate the road under certain conditions (conditions which have not been met) and a group of residents filed suit to stop the county's action since it was in violation of the law. McBride and the developer, Hyland Green, illegally tore out Koch Road while the lawsuit was pending. McBride did not have any rights to the easement at that time but they wanted the land to build houses so they simply ignored the law and proceeded. The homeowners allege they were not told by McBride that their houses sat on a public easement and now their homes are all but worthless since they cannot sell or refinance them. In addition, the Judge ruled that St. Charles County's attempt to eventually vacate the road was unlawful since Koch Road was still useful to the residents.

At the direction of Mayor Morrow, city staff had originally followed the law and refused to issue building permits to McBride (flip.) (I know this would seem obvious but when the favored builders/developers ask for something in St. Charles County the law is rarely an impediment.) However, after the appointment of Bob Lowery as City Administrator, Morrow and the city changed their position and issued McBride building permits to construct homes on a public road (flop.) Davis' story focused on this decision. Here are Davis' questions and Morrow's answer with my comments in red:
Davis: Why did you issue (building) permits when this land was still tied up in litigation?
Morrow: First of all we issued the permits before the Judge made her ruling so it was not tied up in litigation. (Wrong. The case was tied up in litigation as Davis points out in his follow up question.)
Davis: But it was still the subject of a court case.
Morrow: Elliott we're a political subdivision of the state just like the county is. (Interrupting Davis) So we have certain, there's a whole (pointing), there's 20 volumes of what we have to do according to the state. (Um...Well yea...OK...I'll bet there wasn't 20 volumes) So the county and the city have done their duty. (The county went out of its way to give land to a developer and violated the law in the process. The city went out of its way to allow the builder to illegally construct homes and violated the law in the process. However, maybe Morrow believes it is her duty to help out her political friends.)
Davis: Madam mayor I'm trying to ask some key questions here, my key question is why did the city issue building permits to... ?
Morrow: (interrupting) Because we had the authority to, because we had the authority to. (Wrong, Wrong. Of course, the law does not give O'Fallon the authority to issue building permits on a county road and doing so is actually in direct violation of the law. Caveat; I have not read the special set of 20 volumes of things O'Fallon has to do which Morrow keeps in her office. I can only say that those "20 volumes" do not apply anywhere outside her office.)
Davis: Was that a mistake?
Morrow: No it was not a mistake. (Well, in Morrow's defense, Davis did not ask a mistake in whose mind. I'm sure it was not a mistake to McBride, or Hyland Green, or Morrow's assistant, campaign supporter and friend of the developer, Carl Maus. However, if he meant a mistake in the eyes of the citizens and the law Morrow was absolutely wrong.) (interrupting Davis) According to the state statutes we had the full authority to issue it, whether or not it was pending in litigation or not. (OK Madam Mayor, now you are starting to bore me. Everyone repeat after me...WRONG.)
For those interested in the full story on Koch Road I have linked all of my posts about it on the right. As for you Madam Mayor, I want you to think about a suggestion I made to you shortly after you appointed me. Now would be a good time to follow my advice.


Anonymous said...

Not sure who looked worse with Elliot, Marrow and her snotty attiude or Pagono and his deer in the headlight gaze. Either way St. Charles County was well represented with both of these liars.

O.I.O. said...

There’s more to the story of course. The mayor’s assistant Carl Maus. His involvement and close personal relationship with the developer is a part of this. Carl’s questionable history and hanky-panky in the Heritage Landing subdivision played a big role in this.
His financial campaign contributions via CFRC to the mayor have paid off well.
50K+ a year job and developer favoritism for his favorite friends.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention that if the Administration had just listen to instead of firing the two staff members this wouldn't even be an issue today. I hope the two employees that were fired are getting a big giggle out of this mess, not to mention a big check for wrongful termination. I hope the mention Bob Lowery and Mayor Morrow as separate defendants in the case.

Anonymous said...

I think this is a blatant attack on not only Donna Morrow but the "demon" builders that turned Koch road into valuable property with at least 4 $300,000 homes. Suburban sprawl is a fact and we can't protect all of the corn growing, outhouse loving, lets go back to 1960 WESTPLEX residents that impede PROGRESS. If my property values go up so do yours. Build a Cul Du Sac. My kids love to play street hockey. We live in a community that allows us to shoot fireworks. That my friends is FREEDOM!!!!