The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

October 31, 2012

AG launches investigation as Baxter Springs council members face recall election

By Roger McKinney

BAXTER SPRINGS, Kan. — The Kansas Attorney General’s office is investigating Baxter Springs City Council members opposed to Mayor Jenifer Bingham for alleged open-meetings violations as three of them face a recall election on Tuesday.

Six council members, Mike Kaufmann, Ed McAfee, Gary Allen, Robert St. Clair, Ron Costlow and Ron Steele have responded to “interrogatories,” questionnaires from assistant Attorney General Lisa Mendoza. Steele recently resigned from the Council because he had moved.

Costlow, McAfee and Allen are on the ballot in Baxter Springs to be recalled. The recall petition alleged that the three violated the Kansas open-meetings law, though no evidence has been presented.

Attorney Kevin Cure, who is representing the council members, said he’s confident they will be exonerated and he has asked Mendoza to settle the matter before the election.

“There’s not one concrete piece of evidence” against them, Cure said.