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Possible FBI Investigation of Joplin City Councilman - KOAM TV 7

Possible FBI Investigation of Joplin City Councilman

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

The transaction of a property on the corner of 20th and Connecticut is one of 19 properties at the heart of an FBI investigation.. or so believes Joplin city councilman Mike Woolston. 

"I've talked with some other entities that had been contacted by the FBI, asking for documentation of the information they're after," Woolston said.

Woolston was the real estate agent for the land, which was eventually looked at as a potential site for disaster recovery projects as were 18 additional properties he brokered. He says he only took a commission on the  first property. 

"I wanted to try to avoid exactly the controversy that we're in today," Woolston said. 

Council member Bill Scearce wouldn't comment on a possible FBI probe, but said if an issue is found, "the council is charged with taking appropriate action depending on the results of the report."

The Joplin city council hired private investigator Tom Loraine to look into possible ethics violations in 2013.

Loraine's report said Woolston's knowledge on the council, and his interest in buying land in proposed development sites were in conflict. Woolston and councilman Gary Shaw disputed those conclusions. 

"Nothing came out of that, then. I don't think anything will come out of this now," Woolston said. "I've waived the fees. I've abstained on all the votes I was told I should abstain. So I don't really know that there's anything else that I could have done."

Woolston says even though he waived his personal fee, the company he worked for continued to receive money for property he brokered.

"I don't feel I've done anything wrong," Woolston said. "I've done everything I thought I could to avoid the issue and avoid the problems. And I think once [the FBI has] looked at [evidence] and get the documentation that they want, they'll determine pretty quickly that there's nothing wrong."

Woolston said he's trying to figure out a way to publicly disclose documents relating to the land deals without disclosing the private financial information of the other parties.

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