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

2 years 7 months 4 weeks 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
COLUMBIA - A Columbia man pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday for his connections to drug trafficking and a... More >>
14 minutes ago Wednesday, November 13 2019 Nov 13, 2019 Wednesday, November 13, 2019 10:19:32 PM CST November 13, 2019 in News
FULTON - The Fulton Board of Education met Wednesday to discuss language on the April 2020 ballot regarding several of... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, November 13 2019 Nov 13, 2019 Wednesday, November 13, 2019 6:48:00 PM CST November 13, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - On World Kindness day, students and faculty at Russell Boulevard Elementary came together to honor former Columbia mayor... More >>
4 hours ago Wednesday, November 13 2019 Nov 13, 2019 Wednesday, November 13, 2019 5:56:00 PM CST November 13, 2019 in News
BOONE COUNTY - When you open the envelope from Boone County Assessor Tom Schauwecker's office , expect the numbers to... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, November 13 2019 Nov 13, 2019 Wednesday, November 13, 2019 5:00:00 PM CST November 13, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Community members will meet at Columbia City Hall to discuss a possible new affordable housing development Wednesday at... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, November 13 2019 Nov 13, 2019 Wednesday, November 13, 2019 4:42:00 PM CST November 13, 2019 in News
LAKE OZARK - The bodies of a Lake Ozark couple were sent to Southwest Missouri Forensics in Springfield for autopsy... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, November 13 2019 Nov 13, 2019 Wednesday, November 13, 2019 4:00:00 PM CST November 13, 2019 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Federal transportation safety investigators criticized the U.S. Coast Guard Wednesday for ignoring suggestions over... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, November 13 2019 Nov 13, 2019 Wednesday, November 13, 2019 3:09:00 PM CST November 13, 2019 in News
CAPE GIRARDEAU — A very special puppy from southeast Missouri is going viral for being a ‘unicorn.’ Narwhal has... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, November 13 2019 Nov 13, 2019 Wednesday, November 13, 2019 3:00:00 PM CST November 13, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - After the snow settled on Monday, icy conditions took over the roadways and sidewalks. The ice covered... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, November 13 2019 Nov 13, 2019 Wednesday, November 13, 2019 2:38:00 PM CST November 13, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA – Mobility Worldwide broke ground on their new manufacturing facility in front of a small crowd on Wednesday morning.... More >>
8 hours ago Wednesday, November 13 2019 Nov 13, 2019 Wednesday, November 13, 2019 2:21:00 PM CST November 13, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA – Vaping has continued to be a rising issue in the United States and Columbia. According to the Centers... More >>
8 hours ago Wednesday, November 13 2019 Nov 13, 2019 Wednesday, November 13, 2019 2:07:00 PM CST November 13, 2019 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — NASA says a meteor seen streaking through the sky behind the Gateway Arch in St. Louis... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, November 13 2019 Nov 13, 2019 Wednesday, November 13, 2019 1:21:00 PM CST November 13, 2019 in Continuous News
COLE COUNTY - A boil advisory has been issued for residents in Hickory Hill, just west of California, Mo. ... More >>
10 hours ago Wednesday, November 13 2019 Nov 13, 2019 Wednesday, November 13, 2019 12:09:00 PM CST November 13, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Boone County residents can help choose the design for the hottest accessory at the polls this year... More >>
12 hours ago Wednesday, November 13 2019 Nov 13, 2019 Wednesday, November 13, 2019 10:06:02 AM CST November 13, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The LGBTQ community, along with several organizations, will celebrate Columbia's ban on conversion therapy. "Conversion therapy" is... More >>
15 hours ago Wednesday, November 13 2019 Nov 13, 2019 Wednesday, November 13, 2019 7:29:00 AM CST November 13, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Russell Boulevard Elementary School will host a ceremony Wednesday honoring the life of a Columbia mayor who died... More >>
19 hours ago Wednesday, November 13 2019 Nov 13, 2019 Wednesday, November 13, 2019 3:24:00 AM CST November 13, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - One group is fighting to have citizens vote directly on whether or not they want more Missourians... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, November 12 2019 Nov 12, 2019 Tuesday, November 12, 2019 10:27:00 PM CST November 12, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City Fire Department said a resident alerted firefighters to two people were stuck in a car... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, November 12 2019 Nov 12, 2019 Tuesday, November 12, 2019 8:59:00 PM CST November 12, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 36°
11pm 35°
12am 34°
1am 34°
2am 33°