Councilwoman Diane Forte has announced that a Missouri Ethics Commission case against her has been settled with a fine of $387.
The commission investigated her violations of state law, which occurred when her trophy business twice sold awards to the Lee’s Summit Parks Department in amounts of more than $500 without the department taking formal bids, as required by Missouri statute. Each sale was less than $2,000.
When the problem was noticed by the city, Forte acknowledged she had violated the law. She said she had misunderstood the state requirements. She had believed she only had to report the sales on her financial disclosures submitted to the city and state and had done so.
Forte said that she had established the business office for Dean’s Trophies in Lee’s Summit and when that family business split up she started her own company and accepted business from long-time clients she’d worked with as part-owner of Dean’s Trophies.
The problem touched off a political battle between council members and scrutiny of the city’s purchasing policies. Fallout of those conflicts contributed to the recall of Councilman Chris Moreno. The city is now taking filings for a replacement to be appointed by the City Council.
Forte said she hopes the turmoil has subsided. “I think we can have a new start and move forward,” she said.