The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

February 10, 2014

Your Views: Developer: Actions were not unethical

JOPLIN, Mo. — For 11 years before the May 2011, tornado and in almost the three years since, I and all of us at Four State Homes have worked diligently in this community on projects from bathroom remodels, to new homes to large-scale commercial projects.

Our goal has always been to do business with honesty, integrity, and respect for our customers and the citizens of this city and the surrounding communities. We have strived to set building standards — building not only what our customers wanted, but also what the neighbors could be proud of as well. In my humble opinion, we have been accomplishing our goals.

This is why we have been so hurt by the report issued by Tom Loraine (an investigator hired by City Council) — a report built on hearsay, opinions, misunderstandings, inaccuracies and outright falsehoods. It was clear to me right away that I found myself in the middle of a political battle, which is why I chose not to participate in what was described to me as issues that involved two councilmen.

For some unknown reason, I have now found myself as the subject of Mr. Loraine’s defamatory comments, and I do not intend to sit back while someone questions me and my company’s character.

There was nothing wrong with my acquisition of property near 20th Street and Connecticut Avenue, nor with my hiring of Mike Woolston as my licensed real estate agent to assist me in buying that property. This is what he, as an agent, and I, as a developer, have been doing for years — acquiring property for development.

Also, the fact Mr. Woolston was involved as my agent in those purchases was well-known to all involved. He declined any fee income for any of these purchases, except the first one that was purchased for another client of mine well before Wallace Bajjali was selected as the city’s master redeveloper. In short, my actions were anything but unethical.

If you look around Joplin, you will see many Four State Homes signs at multiple building sites, each in a different stage of construction. We are doing these projects with many different customers — long-time customers with whom we have been doing business well before the tornado. I don’t have the time or inclination to do something underhanded in order to move a project forward. I would never jeopardize our well-earned reputation.

All we want to do is bring Joplin back bigger and better than it was prior to the tornado. I still don’t like driving through the scarred area on a daily basis. That is why we at Four State Homes are working so hard to build it back for the next generation. Let’s all get on the same page and let’s bring it back. The whole country is watching us.

Charlie Kuehn, partner

Four State Homes

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