Cass County Money Problems Examined
CASS COUNTY, Mo. — The gloves are off in Cass County. Cass County Auditor Ron Johnson said the county has big money problems. He blames the three men that made up the commission in 2010. And says one former commissioner benefited from county projects for which he voted.
FOX 4′s Katie Ferrell spoke with Former Associate Commissioner via telephone on Wednesday. He told her that the call was the first he’s heard of any accusations against him. Cook said it’s all just one big misunderstanding, but Johnson said he has proof to back up his findings — documents and audio tapes that, he says, speak for themselves.
Johnson said he’s looking for restitution and prosecution in the wake of an outside audit he says backs up his findings. He says he approached the commission, including Cook on October 3, 2010, and gave them a letter spelling out two failed, incomplete projects — a rural broadband project and a $2.9 million bio fuel run generator at the county justice center.
Cook said he never got the letter saying, “I don’t recall it. We did a lot of business with the commission, I don’t recall specifically getting these.”
The generator at the Justice Center got built, but an outside audit says $800,000 paid to get the generator running on biofuels is gone. The auditor says so are the project plans, saying all the county has to show is an incomplete biofuel plant prototype built on the University of Central Missouri campus.
Cook said he has no knowledge of the where the projects stand today saying, “I’ve been out of office for almost a year now and we’ve got a job with another company working, and so I really haven’t kept track with what’s going on as a county so I can’t really tell you.”
Johnson says during Cook’s tenure, Cook benefited from county projects he voted for. Johnson said a grant application signed by Cook shows his intent to start producing sorghum for the plant.
“He did get to cultivate and harvest the sorghum, which he got to keep that product, which has a value of $45 a dry ton according to his own charts he produced,” Johnson said. But Cook says that’s not true.
“We never, never received one penny ever from the county on anything,” Cook said.
The only commissioner in office in 2010 that’s in office now is Brian Baker. He has not responded for comment.