Details revealed as ethics complaint is dropped for Kansas City mayor, council members

·3 min read

New details of an ethics complaint that led to the investigation of Kansas City’s mayor, city council and city manager were released Tuesday.

The dismissal, made public Tuesday by the Missouri Ethics Commission, described the basis of a January complaint to the state ethics watchdog group. The complaint alleged the city government website linked to campaign pages for several public officials, which is against the law. The complainant also accused the mayor of blocking people on Facebook.

On Tuesday, after an investigation, the allegations against the mayor and city council members were dismissed.

The new details come a week after the ethics commission fined Kansas City Manager Brian Platt, holding him responsible for the linked campaign pages because he oversees the city communications department that handles the website.

Missouri Ethics Commission dismisses investigation into Mayor Quinton Lucas by The Kansas City Star on Scribd

Missouri Ethics Commission complaint

The ethics commission on Jan. 19 received a complaint against Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, according to a dismissal posted Tuesday afternoon to the ethics commission’s website.

The person who submitted the complaint, whose name is not public record, alleged public funds were being used to support candidates, including Lucas, since the city’s official website linked to public officials’ campaign social media pages.

The initial complaint also alleged that some citizens were blocked from Lucas’s political Facebook page, which the city site also linked to. The commission said it didn’t have the authority to investigate claims that Lucas is blocking citizens.

The commission said it found reasonable grounds for a violation after discovering that, at the time of the complaint, the city government website linked to at least seven campaign pages and personal social media pages of the following elected officials, including Lucas: Council members Heather Hall, Kevin O’Neill, Teresa Loar, Dan Fowler, Brandon Ellington, Melissa Robinson, Katheryn Shields, Eric Bunch, Lee Barnes, Jr., Ryana Parks-Shaw, Andrea Bough and Kevin McManus.

City Manager Brian Platt fined

Kansas City Manager Brian was ultimately fined because he is “the employee responsible for the city operations which included the Kansas City Communications Office at the time the campaign media was linked,” according to a consent order finalized last week by the ethics commission.

The links were removed while the complaint was still being investigated. Appointed city manager in December 2020, Platt serves as the chief administrative officer for the city. He entered into a consent order with the MEC on Aug. 8.

According to the consent order made public last week, Platt has been fined $1,000 by the commission. If he pays $100 within 45 days, the rest of the fee will be stayed.

City spokesperson Chris Hernandez in an email to The Star last week described the issue as a “simple oversight.”

“Some officials have both official and personal social media accounts, and the city’s website accidentally linked to the wrong one on a webpage that listed social media accounts for all officials,” Hernandez said. “Upon being made aware of this issue, the social media directory was removed, resolving all issues in the complaint.”