TARGET 8: Auditor to review 'questionable' government settlement agreements

7 months 3 days 18 hours ago Wednesday, March 15 2017 Mar 15, 2017 Wednesday, March 15, 2017 4:07:00 PM CDT March 15, 2017 in Target 8
By: Jamie Grey, KOMU 8 Chief Investigator & Madeline Odle, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway announced a new review of "potentially improper or inappropriate" government payouts. The announcement Wednesday came amid a discussion in the Missouri House about possible review mechanisms, as well as a Target 8 investigation into the frequency and dollar amounts of government settlements at the state and local level.

"I am concerned about potential inappropriate payments agreed to by the Missouri Conservation Commission, and will immediately begin a review to determine whether other state agencies are negotiating back-channel settlements with taxpayer dollars," Galloway stated in a news release.

Galloway specifically referenced recent findings that a former Department of Conservation director was still being paid his salary for eight months after his work ended, possibly as part of a settlement agreement related to claims against the department.

Settlement agreement in firefighter death case

On Monday, the University of Missouri Board of Curators went into the final steps of a settlement with the widow of Columbia Fire Lieutenant Bruce Britt, who died after a walkway collapsed at MU-owned University Village Apartments in February 2014. A circut judge preliminarily approved a settlement this week, with some conditions, though the UM System clarified the settlement is not complete. Previously, in 2014, the board had denied wrongdoing.

With the settlement negotiations appearing to near their end, the Target 8 team began looking into settlements at local and state government levels. On Tuesday, viewers reacted to the issue during a Facebook Live chat.

New legislation aims to review settlement payments

House Minority Leader Rep. Gail McCann Beatty, D-Kansas City, is sponsoring legislation that would force the state attorney general's office to make monthly reports to lawmakers about all account activity involving the state's legal expense fund. According to the Kansas City Star, the state paid more than $52 million in settlements over five years, prompting questions from lawmakers.

On Wednesday, McCann Beatty discussed the issue with KOMU 8 News, and she said the new legislation has bipartisan support. She said the state has already exceeded its appropriated funds for the year. 

"We are budgeting some $6 million, and we've exceeded over $28 million so far this year," McCann Beatty said. "Previous years we were close to three times that." 

Watch KOMU 8 News at 10 for the full story on government settlements, including interviews with a lawmaker and the city of Columbia.

(Editor's note: This project is part of a special Town Square initiative, involving viewers in the reporting process as the investigative team works to report in-depth on a pressing issue related to current news stories.)

More News

Grid
List
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Authorities say two people have been killed and a dozen others wounded since Saturday in St.... More >>
2 days ago Monday, October 16 2017 Oct 16, 2017 Monday, October 16, 2017 8:28:00 AM CDT October 16, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – As temperatures start dipping, Columbia looks to make improvements to its outdoor sports fields. The Columbia City... More >>
2 days ago Monday, October 16 2017 Oct 16, 2017 Monday, October 16, 2017 7:52:00 AM CDT October 16, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The family of a Sedalia boy injured in a weekend ATV accident told school officials he had died,... More >>
2 days ago Monday, October 16 2017 Oct 16, 2017 Monday, October 16, 2017 6:45:00 AM CDT October 16, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – “Rural Progress and Pride” is the theme of this year's Missouri Community Betterment (MCB) Conference. “Our focus... More >>
2 days ago Monday, October 16 2017 Oct 16, 2017 Monday, October 16, 2017 3:22:00 AM CDT October 16, 2017 in News
BURLINGTON JUNCTION, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say a Missouri man has died in a highway motorcycle crash. The Missouri... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, October 15 2017 Oct 15, 2017 Sunday, October 15, 2017 11:18:57 PM CDT October 15, 2017 in News
HARTSBURG - The annual Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival ended Sunday, but the two day event was filled with various food options,... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, October 15 2017 Oct 15, 2017 Sunday, October 15, 2017 4:17:00 PM CDT October 15, 2017 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - The Greater Missouri Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention hosted its third annual Out of the... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, October 15 2017 Oct 15, 2017 Sunday, October 15, 2017 1:58:00 PM CDT October 15, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City man has received a 40-year prison sentence for having sex with a... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, October 15 2017 Oct 15, 2017 Sunday, October 15, 2017 1:00:57 PM CDT October 15, 2017 in News
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Two pit bulls have been shot to death in the last week in Springfield, where city... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, October 15 2017 Oct 15, 2017 Sunday, October 15, 2017 12:56:00 PM CDT October 15, 2017 in News
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A Springfield City Utilities official says the company will continue to focus on alternative energy despite... More >>
3 days ago Sunday, October 15 2017 Oct 15, 2017 Sunday, October 15, 2017 11:14:00 AM CDT October 15, 2017 in News
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — No. 4 Georgia found its running game after a slow start and took control with 26... More >>
3 days ago Sunday, October 15 2017 Oct 15, 2017 Sunday, October 15, 2017 8:46:00 AM CDT October 15, 2017 in Sports
COLUMBIA - While the drive-in restaurant industry has experienced a decline, one Columbia drive-in location is thriving. Mugs Up... More >>
3 days ago Sunday, October 15 2017 Oct 15, 2017 Sunday, October 15, 2017 6:24:00 AM CDT October 15, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - People First of Boone County held their second annual Walk and Roll a Thon Saturday afternoon at Stephen's... More >>
3 days ago Saturday, October 14 2017 Oct 14, 2017 Saturday, October 14, 2017 6:52:00 PM CDT October 14, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City NAACP chapter hosted its 54th annual Freedom Fund and Silent Auction Saturday. This year's... More >>
3 days ago Saturday, October 14 2017 Oct 14, 2017 Saturday, October 14, 2017 6:47:00 PM CDT October 14, 2017 in News
ATHENS, Ga. - Just one week removed from their own homecoming, the Missouri Tigers (1-4, 0-3 SEC) travel to Sanford... More >>
3 days ago Saturday, October 14 2017 Oct 14, 2017 Saturday, October 14, 2017 4:20:00 PM CDT October 14, 2017 in Sports
COLUMBIA - Sunday, author of "Fiddler’s Dream," Howard Wight Marshall will have a concert and book signing at the Museum... More >>
3 days ago Saturday, October 14 2017 Oct 14, 2017 Saturday, October 14, 2017 3:06:00 PM CDT October 14, 2017 in News
ARROW ROCK - A window to the past was opened at the 49th annual Arrow Rock Heritage Festival. Over 70... More >>
3 days ago Saturday, October 14 2017 Oct 14, 2017 Saturday, October 14, 2017 2:51:00 PM CDT October 14, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - For the 58th straight year, Central Bank of Boone County and the Columbia Art League teamed up for... More >>
3 days ago Saturday, October 14 2017 Oct 14, 2017 Saturday, October 14, 2017 2:44:00 PM CDT October 14, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 66°
1pm 70°
2pm 72°
3pm 73°
4pm 73°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

12:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Noon
12:30p
Inside Edition
1:00p
Days of Our Lives
12:00p
Jerry Springer
1:00p
Maury
2:00p
Maury

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Blacklist
8:00p
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
9:00p
Chicago P.D.
7:00p
Riverdale
8:00p
Dynasty
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld