Government & Politics

Missouri auditor seeks dismissal of Clay County’s lawsuit in conflict over records

Enough is enough: Clay County citizens want state audit of county government

A group of Clay County citizens hopes that a state audit of their government will lead to better accountability. Citizens for a Better Clay County has gathered thousands of signatures on a petition to get that audit.
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A group of Clay County citizens hopes that a state audit of their government will lead to better accountability. Citizens for a Better Clay County has gathered thousands of signatures on a petition to get that audit.

The Missouri State Auditor’s Office said Monday it filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Clay County Commission as part of a conflict over a state audit of county finances.

The county’s lawsuit sought to stop the state auditor from pursuing a subpoena for records from the county. State Auditor Nicole Galloway had issued the subpoena, she said, after county officials resisted the audit with “delays, roadblocks and evasive responses.”

Galloway’s office issued a statement about the action Monday. 

“Today’s motion seeks to quickly bring an end to this unnecessary lawsuit,” the statement said. “Thousands of Clay County citizens demanded accountability from their government. They deserve answers, not costly efforts to prevent auditors from fulfilling their duty under the law.”

The audit of Clay County is ongoing, the auditor’s office said.

Clay County officials have argued that they are cooperating with the audit but say Galloway is exceeding her constitutional authority. 

The audit, which began in December, was initiated after a local citizen’s group submitted a petition with more than 9,000 signatures requesting that Galloway examine the county’s financial records. 

Residents had raised concerns about questionable spending, allegations of corruption, wasting of taxpayer dollars and not upholding state’s Sunshine Law.

Galloway issued the subpena for records late last month.

The subpoena requested that Assistant County Administrator Nicole Brown appear at Galloway’s Kansas City office and turn over all minutes from all county commission meetings from the last two years, as well as records kept on smart phones, computers and other devices.

The Clay County Commission immediately answered back with a lawsuit. A judge’s order held that the subpoena would not be enforced until a decision was made in the lawsuit. 

This is the first audit of Clay County by the Missouri State Auditor’s Office since 1990.

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Aaron Randle is the Star’s “Divided City” enterprise reporter, tasked with exploring the cultural intersections that shape — and divide — Kansas City and Kansas Citians.


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