Cole County prosecutor declines charges in HELP, Inc. investigation
JEFFERSON CITY - The Cole County Prosecutor's Office said Thursday it will not pursue charges in connection with the investigation into HELP, Inc., a company aimed at helping the trucking industry move faster and more efficiently.
Mark Richardson announced in a press release he found no probable cause of any criminal violation in the matter, and will not file any criminal charges.
In early April 2017, State Auditor Nicole Galloway said she was investigating possible conflicts of interest among state employees who worked for HELP, Inc. while also serving as regulators for the trucking industry. Specifically, Galloway looked into concerns about those state workers acting to prevent outside competition.
About a month after Galloway announced her investigation, both MoDOT and the Missouri State Highway Patrol ended their respective staff representation on the board of HELP, Inc. to avoid further concerns.
Galloway announced in April 2018 her investigation found "clear conflicts of interest" when the company Drivewyze tried to compete with HELP, Inc. to provide weigh station services for the state. Following the announcement, Attorney General Josh Hawley announced he had started an investigation.
Richardson said Hawley's office requested misdemeanor charges against four former state workers involved with HELP, Inc.: Jan Skouby, Scott Marion, Greg Kindle and Brett Johnson. The prosecutor said his office interviewed the four people, as well as witnesses, and reviewed documents but found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
In a letter to the attorney general's office, Richardson said his office found the request for charges "was not based upon a thorough investigation," and that consultations with attorneys knowledgeable in ethics law found no violations of those state statutes.
Richardson said anything Skouby did with HELP, Inc. came after she left her role at MoDOT in 2013, and there was no evidence she tried to sway MoDOT in any decision after she left. His letter also refuted claims against Marion, Kindle and Gregg, saying there's no evidence "any acts by any of the four constitute public corruption."
“The Attorney General’s Office stands by our analysis that there was probable cause to file charges against three former public employees. We respectfully disagree with Mr. Richardson’s conclusions,” said Mary Compton from the Attorney General's Office in a statement to KOMU 8 News.