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Joplin council investigator announces telephone ‘tip line’ for public to use

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POSTED ON BEHALF OF THE CITY OF JOPLIN

As work continues on a City Council-authorized investigation, Tom Loraine, an attorney hired for this work, has announced a “tip line” for the public to call. The telephone number is 417- 627-2999 and can be called at any time. Citizens are requested to leave their name and phone number and Loraine will return your call.

The investigation was recently authorized by the City Council to review actions of two Council members: Bill Scearce and Mike Woolston. Scearce was mentioned in a previous FBI investigation relating to gambling, noting his ownership of a building which a bookmaker had rented from him during the 1990s. Council also agreed for the investigation to check into Woolston’s real estate actions to determine if he utilized his knowledge from his work on the Council and meetings with Wallace Bajjali, the City’s master developer, to broker any realtor transactions.

Loraine had previously announced that he is applying the Garrity warning to gain information from public officials, which basically requires public officials to give information or face disciplinary action for refusing to answer. It is a U.S. Supreme Court-sanctioned procedure that also is recognized by the Missouri Court of Appeals, he said.

Recognizing that officials are required to answer through this method, the tip line offers an opportunity for others who may have information relating to these matters to bring it forward during the investigation.

Loraine has been conducting public investigations as part of his private practice of law for more than 12 years. Prior to this, he worked as an assistant U.S. attorney in St. Louis. He has completed municipal investigations for other communities in Missouri, as well as public fire districts.

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