Allegations against former Joplin councilman: Fact or fiction? - KOAM TV 7

Allegations against former Joplin councilman: Fact or fiction?


A roster sign inside Joplin's council chambers explains the situation definitively.  Mike Woolston is no longer part of city council.

"I kind of feel like it didn't solve anything," says Joplin resident Herb Rawlins.

Rawlins explains that he keeps up with the news, but still feels he doesn't know all the details.

"He may or may not have been guilty of something.  We won't ever know," says Rawlins.

It seems like the public may not know all the details behind Woolston's resignation, because in a joint agreement with the city and Woolston's attorney, the city agreed to not further investigate conflict of interest allegations against Woolston.

It turns out Rawlins is not the only person who feels lost without facts.

"It's going to be hard to tell.  But it appears yes, there was some conflict of interest," says Joplin area resident Dan Stehly.

The allegations center around Woolston being a realtor and using it to his financial benefit when it came to the city buying and selling land.  But in a media release, the city said "parties" have determined Woolston did not benefit financially.  According to Mayor Mike Seibert, the word "parties" meant Woolston and his attorney, the city's attorney, and five city council members.  Councilman Bill Scearce says there never was an official investigation into Woolston by council members.

We asked another Joplin resident, John Lewis, if he thought Woolston was guilty of wrongdoing.

"In his (Woolston's) words, no.  In the council's words, it seems to be uncertain about that, because he resigned.  So, it's kind of hard to say.  Like anybody else, I did nothing wrong.  But you don't know until all the facts are on the table," says Lewis.

Residents also point out that though Woolston has resigned, the public is still entitled to information.

"For anything at the least, it's a lesson learned for the future," says Stehly.

Mayor Mike Seibert says city council will begin talks of replacing Woolston at the next council meeting, this coming Monday.  Historically, council has set aside two weeks for accepting applications from people in the community.  After that, council members interview applicants.  Mayor Seibert hopes the position is filled in October.


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