A Letter Creates More Controversy Surrounding A Joplin City Coun - KOAM TV 7

A Letter Creates More Controversy Surrounding A Joplin City Council Special Investigation


A letter creates more controversy surrounding a Joplin City Council Special Investigation. The letter was sent by Special Investigator Thomas Loraine to the City Attorney last month, and obtained by KOAM and  FOX 14 through an open records request.

In the letter to City Attorney Brian Head, dated February 20th, Loraine says he "was saddened to hear that (his) my outstanding balance was not fully endorsed by at least 7 members of your council." 

Loraine alleges he made head aware that his investigation of two council members might expand to then City Manager Mark Rohr at an additional cost, saying quote, "I disclosed this problem to you and you advised me I had full discretion to decide to expand the investigation to include Mr. Rohr and his relation to city employees, city council, Wallace Bajjali, and mr. Kuehn." 
When we spoke with the City Attorney on the phone he told me he did not give any permission to Mr. Loraine to exceed the budget, he merely said it was up to his discretion whether to follow through. And that he did not give him a yes or no answer. Something City Councilman Mike Woolston admits is in part of Loraine's original contract.
"In his original employment agreement it does give him a latitude, to go in the direction that the investigation takes him," Woolston said.

Part of which included practices by Mike Woolston himself, however according to Woolston, Loraine should have approached the Council as soon as he knew he would exceed his original $45,000 dollar cap before proceeding.

"In the original charge, the original three charges were relative to Council Member behavior and that was it, again I think he deviated so substantially that he should have come to council for guidance and he simply didn't do that," Woolston said. 
In the letter, Loraine claims he told Head the bill would exceed the agreed upon amount and that head assured him that obtaining additional authorization would not be a problem and would be forthcoming. ( "You assured me that obtaining additional authorization would not be a problem and would be forthcoming." )

But in an email Head tells us he did not approve the extra amount, and was not even made aware of it -- claiming "(Loraine's) office forwarded a bill via e-mail which apparently went to spam or trash.  It was only after the fact that we learned that his bill exceeded the initial authority."
For now the letter appears to offer more questions than answers. But in the end, the City Council did vote to pay Loraine the entire $82,000 dollars. 
We did put in several attempts for comment and explanation from loraine's office, none of those calls have been returned.  

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