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Missouri State Highway Patrol Investigates If Joplin Money Was S - KOAM TV 7

Missouri State Highway Patrol Investigates If Joplin Money Was Stolen

Updated:
Joplin, MO -

Information on the Missouri State Highway Patrol's investigation into the Neosho CID can be found here.  The Missouri Department of Revenue says Joplin's Hope Valley CID profits were mailed to an address that the Missouri State Highway Patrol says is Darrell Gross' personal address.  Within the Department of Revenue's report, some profits are marked with a "s" and other profits are marked with  a "u". The "s" stands for sales tax, and "u" stands for use tax, which the Department of Revenue says is tax "where the tangible personal property is stored, used or consumed."  Both sales and use tax are forms of profit for Joplin's Hope Valley CID.

Joplin city officials are waiting for an outside investigation to determine if any taxpayer's money was stolen.  The money was gathered through a funding mechanism called a community improvement district, or CID.  It's a way for developers to collect tax dollars to help fund projects.

Joplin's city attorney says he has concerns over a Joplin CID because of what allegedly happened with a CID in Neosho.  A man now charged with crimes has been linked to both of these CID's.

According to court documents filed in Newton County, Darrell Gross, a paid consultant for the Big Springs Plaza CID in Neosho, told the Missouri Department of Revenue to mail checks of proceeds from that CID to his personal address.  Last month, Gross was charged with receiving stolen property from that CID, accused of depositing more than $12,000 into his business account.

"Because of what this board found, it appears there may be some issues with Mr. Gross' involvement in other tax entities and districts," says Derek Snyder, attorney for the Big Springs Plaza CID.

The same year investigators say Gross began stealing from the Neosho back in March of 2015, Joplin's city council approved the Hope Valley CID.  The 147-acre CID includes the Cracker Barrel restaurant, two hotels, and a furniture shopping center.  A one-percent sales tax in this area has been collected for proposed new construction, utility improvements, and walking trails.  But Joplin city council members say not one of these improvements has been made in Hope Valley since the CID's approval.

Joplin City Attorney Peter Edwards told us in an e-mail, "Joplin is concerned, based on Mr. Gross charged with 3 felonies in Newton County...that Mr. Gross also had access to the bank accounts of the Hope Valley CID."

The Missouri Department of Revenue says more than $177,000 in revenue from the Joplin CID was mailed to, what the Missouri State Highway Patrol says is, Gross' personal address.

Edwards says, "The City has taken steps to eliminate any future checks being mailed to Mr. Gross."  Edwards says the City has asked the Missouri State Highway Patrol to investigate Gross' involvement with the Hope Valley CID.

CID's are political subdivisions separate from city or county governments.  Edwards did not mention any evidence showing Gross stole from the Joplin CID.

As to charges against Gross in Neosho, he's scheduled to appear in court in three weeks.

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