Northeast Joco

Roeland Park campaign investigation leads to phone dispute

Roeland Park continues to roil from an April election scandal, but a former councilman is finished trying to talk to one of his current council representatives about it.

The last time Scott Gregory tried to get Councilwoman Megan England on the phone, he ended up talking to Police Chief Rex Taylor.

“I was appalled that on the one hand that a public official could not answer their phone and spent public money to trace down whose cell phone it was,” Gregory said. “Then she had the police chief call me to tell me not to call her anymore under threat of some type of action if I did.”

England did not return phone calls from The Kansas City Star.

The chief told The Star this week that Councilwoman England asked him to find out who had called her.

“We looked the number up on the internet,” Taylor said. “It wasn’t any hidden police work.”

The election scandal involves an anonymous flier denigrating mayoral candidate Linda Mau that was mailed just days before the April city elections.

State law prohibits anonymous political fliers in larger cities but doesn’t cover Roeland Park. A city attorney is investigating. Council members had planned to discuss the investigation on Monday but the issue has been pushed back, possibly to June.

Gregory said the discussion with the chief was friendly.

“I asked Rex, ‘Can you do this on the word of a public official, call someone up and say don’t call this person?’” Gregory said.

The chief responded that if Gregory called her “‘We would have to charge you with something,’” Gregory said.

Gregory said he told the chief, “I really can’t believe this but I don’t want to make your life any harder, so I will comply.”

Mayor Joel Marquardt said he understands the frustration that can come from elected officials not responding to their constituents.

“Public officials should be accessible,” said Marquardt, who said he didn’t have all the details regarding the phone issue.

He said he hopes something positive will come from all the bad feelings.

“The good that can come out of this is better ethics rules in Roeland Park,” Marquardt said.