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Joplin city attorney: Trucking company had rights to "step into - KOAM TV 7

Joplin city attorney: Trucking company had rights to "step into the shoes" of master redeveloper

Updated:
New documents obtained by KOAM/KFJX through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), show City Manager Sam Anselm said to city workers, "This too shall pass," referring to our stations' coverage of possible financial obligations by the city to a Springfield, MO based trucking company.

In a report we aired on Feb. 8, which can be found here, we asked Joplin city officials about a financial collateral agreement between trucking company Prime Inc. and Joplin's former master redeveloper, Wallace Bajjali.  

In a second report we aired on Tuesday, which can be found here, an attorney for Prime Inc., Richard Walters said it was clear his client is still owed money.  Walters added that it has yet to be determined if the city owes this money.  Joplin Mayor Mike Seibert disputes this claim, and so does Anselm.  Anselm asked that we add a clarification to our original story.    

The FOIA documents we obtained show the city has already paid Prime one million dollars.  The payments were sent in increments on dates of 9-13-2013, 10-11-2013, 1-29-2014, and 3-6-2014.  

FOIA documents show around the time of our first report, current city officials and workers reached out to former city attorney Brian Head for an understanding of this financial collateral agreement.  Anselm, for our first story, said he wasn't aware of this financial collateral agreement until two weeks ago.  However, Head said he approved the agreement as to form and that city council approved it during an informal meeting on 9-24-2012.  Anselm was hired as Joplin's assistant city manager on April 4, 2011.  Anselm says he wasn't always privy to the work of Mark Rohr, then city manager.

Head also said the collateral agreement, "...allows New Prime (Prime Inc.) to step into the shoes of WB (Wallace Bajjali) should WB default."  Current City Attorney Peter Edwards, in an e-mail, says, "Step into the shoes" means Prime could come in to cure a default if they chose to, to keep the contract out of breach.  The contract (between the city and Wallace Bajjali) was terminated so there is not opportunity to cure any default."

We contacted the city's public information officer and requested to interview any city official who could comment on our latest story.  The city's PIO said Anselm wasn't available for an interview.

Click here to view the FOIA documents.

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