KANSAS CITY, Mo. — More than 30 felony charges have been dismissed Tuesday against a Kansas City tow lot owner accused of illegal towing.
Jackson County prosecutors say it’s because a Kansas City police sergeant, who’s also president of the police union, threatened the man and undermined the integrity of the investigation.
Allen “Jay” Bloodworth was charged in September 2019 with 31 counts of felony forgery for illegally towing and storing cars.
In 2017, investigators obtained a warrant to go on to Bloodworth’s tow lot to see the cars in its possession. There, prosecutors say police found cars reported stolen.
At the time, Bloodworth’s employee told FOX4 they had paperwork to prove the cars were towed legally. That paperwork was forged, prosecutors said.
But new court documents released Tuesday say Bloodworth shared a partial recording of a phone call that has resulted in all those charges being dismissed.
The phone call, Bloodworth said, is between him and KCPD Sgt. Brad Lemon, president of the local Fraternal Order of Police, in 2019. You can hear the phone call in the video player above.
Lemon threatened Bloodworth with police action if he didn’t release a car for one of Lemon’s family members, court documents say.
Bloodworth had towed the car but said he couldn’t legally release it because Lemon’s family member wasn’t the registered owner or someone designated by the owner.
According to transcriptions of the phone call, Lemon mentioned his position in KCPD and the police union and brought up a past investigation into Bloodworth’s business.
“It’s game on … We’ll start the same routine with you then,” Lemon said, according to court records.
“I guarantee I’m going to talk to (unintelligible),” he went on to say.
During the discovery period, KCPD produced a June 2019 email between Lemon and another KCPD officer, showing some offline communication occurred between the two about Bloodworth.
Bloodworth’s attorney said the phone call happened right before a search warrant was executed on his client’s home, which involved property seizure and Bloodworth’s dog allegedly being shot.
“I have no idea what kind of momentum or investigation would’ve been undertaken or what the results would’ve been,” attorney Dan Ross said. “I just know after the conversation was recorded with Mr. Lemon, really bad things happened to my client.”
The Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office says the evidence KCPD gathered against Bloodworth won’t hold up in court now, which is why the 31 forgery counts have been dismissed.
“Lemon’s words, invoked in the name of KCPD and the Fraternal Order of Police, combined with his documented receipt of information regarding Defendant, undermines the integrity of the investigation, exposes all officers in this case to accusations of substantial partiality, and negatively impacts the credibility of the State’s evidence and the testimony of its primary witnesses,” court documents say.
The matter has been referred to law enforcement for further review, prosecutors say.
Capt. Dave Jackson, a spokesman for the Kansas City Police Department, said the department will be investigating the incident as well.
Jackson said KCPD just learned the charges would be dropped and that a member of the department was involved on Tuesday.
FOX4 also reached out to the local Fraternal Order of Police chapter. A representative said they also weren’t aware prosecutors were considering dropping the charges until Tuesday and would not comment further.
The representative did say it’s unfortunate that a nearly 3-year investigation into Bloodworth — and more than two dozen alleged victims — won’t see justice.
Bloodworth still faces tax evasion charges because KCPD did not primarily investigate that case. He’s entered a not guilty plea for those charges.