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City Council Holds First Meeting Post-Indictment - KOAM TV 7

City Council Holds First Meeting Post-Indictment

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GALENA, KANSAS -  The Galena City Council held its regularly scheduled meeting Monday. The first since the city mayor, one former and four current city council members were indicted for misuse of public funds. 

With Galena Mayor Dale Oglesby on vacation, Mayor pro tem Todd Martin opened Monday night's meeting by shooting down any talk of indictments.

"We will stick with what's on the agenda," he said. 

Roughly a dozen showed up to the Galena city council meeting, but no one was there to discuss the charges

Don Fitzer says he testified to the grand jury which handed down the indictments. He believes the city bought his 30-acre monofill to end a lawsuit he filed with a company he says has ties with city officials.

"So they're stating that we bought the land to only help Brian Jordan out of his lawsuit," Galena city attorney Kevin Cure said. "And that is the farthest thing from the truth. It's not even close."

Council members have been advised to stay silent on the indictments for now. But Cure says Fitzer failed to meet KDHE standards when he owned the land, and the city purchased it to avoid possible fines as the permit holder.  

"The state inspectors were telling us we were out of compliance," Cure said. "We were looking at fines. And maybe a closure fee of almost $500,000. And we avoided that by acquiring this land."

A spokesman for KDHE confirmed in an email the monofill was cited for, "failure to control access to the site to prevent unauthorized entry at all times," in 2014.

KDHE also confirmed the city would be held responsible for violations.  

Cure says the charges have no merit and believes state persecutors will drop the case.

"What I'm hoping is whoever is the prosecutor examines this and just determines there is no way this indictment should have been issued," Cure said. 

Council members did say, as of Monday, only Lance Nichols has been served.  

Cure said if charges aren't dropped, the first court date would be on July 2nd.

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