Judge Removes Tracy Mayor from Office Over Nepotism Charge
TRACY, Mo. — The small town of Tracy, Missouri, is without a mayor after a judge on Thursday ordered the mayor removed from office following charges of nepotism.
Rita A. Rhoads had served as mayor of the Platte County town since 2008. Earlier this week, Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd filed a civil suit against Rhoads alleging that she violated the Missouri Constitution’s ban on nepotism.
According to court documents, Rhoads paid her son-in-law $100 to fix a city sign despite knowing that state law prevented her from hiring him to do the work for the city.
In court, a witness testified that Rhoads said she didn’t care and that they need the money, referring to her daughter and son-in-law.
Prosecutors say that Rhoads and her son-in-law then pushed an invoice through a city council meeting purporting to pay a non-existent business rather than the son-in-law directly.
Rhoads claimed in court that she did not try to cover-up who was receiving the money even though it was undisputed that she approved an invoice to a defunct business her son-in-law used to have.
After the son-in-law could not cash the check, Rhoads admitted she hand wrote a second check payable to him personally rather than to his non-existent business.
Word of Rhoads’ removal from office was met with mixed reaction in Tracy.
“I really think a lot of Rita,” said Tracy resident Larry Kincaid. “She’s done the town real good. Whatever it was, I wish it didn’t happen. She probably does too.”
Neighbor Joyce Winders calls the situation sad.
“I know she thought she was probably doing the right thing, but she wasn’t,” said Winders.
Rhoads has not returned FOX 4′s requests for comment. Tracy Board of Alderman president Julie Thomas will serve as acting mayor until a successor is named.