Former Cooper County clerk pleads guilty to stealing
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri attorney general's office announced Monday a former mid-Missouri county clerk pleaded guilty to stealing.
Darryl Kempf was accused of using county money to lease a pickup truck, as well as to pay off the lease. Kempf also had his deputy clerk complete paperwork showing the truck had been given to Kempf as a gift, meaning he wouldn't have to pay sales tax, according to the attorney general's office.
Kempf was sentenced to six months in jail, but per a plea agreement the jail time was suspended, and Kempf is on two years probation instead. As part of the probation, Kempf will repay more than $5,000 to Cooper County and the state.
Kempf announced his resignation as Cooper County clerk on Friday. In a letter sent to news organizations, Kempf said his decision came because he "no longer [wants] to fight the politically motivated issues that [he has] recently had to address."
Kempf's full statement says:
"Today, as I resign from the office I have proudly held for over thirty years. I have decided to resign as I no longer want to fight the politically motivated issues that I have recently had to address. I reflect on the many staff and fellow elected officials that I served with, helped get elected and in turn assisted them with their various duties to benefit the taxpayers of Cooper County.
"After conducting hundreds of honest unquestioned Elections, I can definitely say that without the help of so many constituents serving as poll workers, the job of County Clerk/Election Authority is an impossible task. I would like to thank each and every one of them for trusting me to lead them to do great work not only for our County but for the State of Missouri and the Federal Government.
"When dealing with the public who supported me for years through thick and thin, I remember a famous quote 'Focus on all the things someone does right, instead of the one thing you think they do wrong.'
"I am excited about the opportunity to get to spend more time with my loving family. Especially my wife Nancy who has been my biggest supporter when the job required extensive overtime and many trips away from home over the years.
"As I leave the office I love, I do so with my shoulders straight and my head held high and am reminded of a famous Walt Disney quote:
'All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all the troubles and obstacles have strengthened me…. You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.'
"Thanks to all of you for the opportunity to have experienced the best times of my life.
"God’s blessings to you. Sincerely, Daryl Kempf"