KANSAS CITY, Mo — FOX4 is asking questions about why Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has not had time to meet with Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, after learning Schmitt’s schedule was wide open at the end of last week.
Thursday, July 29, Lucas tweeted that he tried to meet with Schmitt to talk about Kansas City’s mask mandate and avoid litigation, but Schmitt’s schedule would not allow it.
The attorney general has been too busy to talk to FOX4 too.
Under Missouri’s Sunshine Law, elected official’s schedules are public record. FOX4 requested a copy of the attorney general’s schedule for July 29 and July 30. The copy we received from the state was blank. Nothing was booked.
“That’s the real response? Absolutely nothing,” Lucas said when we showed him Schmitt’s schedule. “There’s a time when we have to have adults in the room. To have a schedule that has absolutely nothing but then also say you can’t talk to the mayor of Kansas City, he can’t talk to local media, you can’t actually really try to come to solutions is beyond frustrating.”
Kansas City’s mask mandate went into effect Monday and Schmitt filed his lawsuit Tuesday without trying to work things out. It’s a lawsuit the taxpayers of Missouri and Kansas City will pay for.
“Any litigation before you file, you talk to the other side and say, ‘Can we avoid litigation?'” said attorney Phil LeVota. “That happens all the time and he didn’t do that. So, that shows me that his mind was set.”
Kansas City’s current mask mandate expires August 28, KCMO City Council could renew it. The first hearing on the lawsuit is set for November 22, and there’s no telling if any mask mandate will still in place. LeVota, the former Chairman of the Jackson County Democratic Committee, believes this is a political move by Schmitt, who is in a tough Republican primary race to replace Roy Blunt in the U.S. Senate.
“Two weeks ago, you might not know the attorney general’s name but they know Eric Schmitt’s name now,” LeVota said. “Eric Schmitt has been a smart politician his entire career. He’s making the next step the United States Senate and I think this plays to him as a politician running for office, gives him publicity but also gives him a legal means to do it.”
Schmitt’s office would not answer FOX4’s questions on the record about why the attorney general’s schedule was clear or what he was doing at the end of last week.
“We got a long time till the next U.S. Senate election and if he’s just going to quit doing his job between now and November of 2022, maybe you should step aside, let somebody else do it in the meantime,” Lucas said. “I get political games and all of that, but we’re dealing with COVID. We’re dealing with life threatening challenges with people and we’re just dealing with common sense, common respect and common decency.”
FOX4 has made multiple attempts to get Schmitt’s side of the story. While his office would not address the scheduling issue on the record, it did respond to our other questions.
With regards to why the attorney general has not filed a temporary restraining order like he did in St. Louis, his office replied by email: Every case is certainly different and will likely take a different path. In the KC lawsuit, FOX4 asked for injunctive relief or other relief that the court felt proper, so we are in fact asking for the court to invalidate or halt the mask mandate.
FOX4 also asked Schmitt if he plans on filing lawsuits against North Kansas City and Jackson County. Both have mask mandates starting Monday. His office replied: “It’s certainly on our radar, but I wouldn’t want to say definitively either way.”