During a closed executive session Monday night, the Excelsior Springs Board of Education voted 6-0 to hire an independent counsel to look into allegations of conflict of interest raised by some school district patrons.
The accusations made by Excelsior Springs residents Rick Moore and Ken Fousek, detailed in a series of mailed newsletters, have mostly revolved around Activities Director Jesse Hall, but the investigation will not be limited to Hall by himself.
Minutes of the meeting, obtained through an open records request made by , show that board member Kristi Shewell made the motion to retain an attorney “to conduct a third party investigation with regular progress reports to be made to the Board of Education; and the scope of the investigation will be limited to issues of conflict of interest (per Board policy) regarding district employees and Board of Education members.”
Board member John McGovern seconded Shewell’s motion, the minutes show.
Shellie Guin, an attorney with Guin Martin Mundorf LLC who represents the school board and school district in most matters, said in a telephone interview on Thursday that the investigation will most likely be undertaken by an attorney with a private law firm in Blue Springs, but that he has not officially signed a retainer yet.
Guin said the attorney has no connections with the school district or with Moore.
“He doesn’t know any of the parties,” she explained. “The school board established the scope of the investigation, but beyond that they wanted everything to be at the total discretion of the independent counsel, with no restrictions or limitations on the investigation.”
The attorney being considered for the investigation is on a short list of individuals that Guin’s law firm maintains for investigations such as this one.
“We’re still at the preliminary stage,” Guin said. “There’s been no direct contact between the board and the investigator, because they want there to be just the objective, non-biased provision of information.
Moore, who claims—among other things—that Hall’s son Brock is directly benefiting from the school district’s use of AstroTurf on the new Miracle Field at Excelsior Springs High School, told The Standard on Wednesday that he’s happy to hear the school district is looking into the matter, but he says it’s just “the tip of the iceberg.”
And no matter the outcome of the investigation, he says he’s not giving up in his effort to expose what he views as a corrupt system in the Excelsior Springs School District.
Guin said the third-party investigation is not necessarily designed to answer Moore’s questions, but rather to clear the air in the community and let the public know what’s going on in their school district.
She said she could not make a guess at how long the investigation would take.
By Eric Copeland • firstname.lastname@example.org