KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A whistleblower lawsuit filed by Kansas City’s former communications director accuses City Manager Brian Platt of retaliation when he refused to lie to the media.
The lawsuit filed by Chris Hernandez describes a January communications strategy meeting inside City Hall where Platt allegedly laid out a strategy of lying. “Why can’t we just lie?” Platt allegedly asked the team of communications staffers.
Hernandez says after that January meeting there was debate concerning an upcoming press conference where Kansas City would announce a “Summer of Street Resurfacing.”
It alleges Platt told communications staff to say “300 miles” would be repaved instead of “nearly 300 miles.” Before the event Platt tweeted “400 + miles were planned for this spring and summer.”
Mayor Quinton Lucas stressed the city’s transparency Thursday and said he wasn’t concerned by the allegations.
“I have seen no situation either with the city manager or our city staff that they have misrepresented numbers amounts or any other types of issues. I’ve never seen our city manager or anyone on our staff suggest to someone to misrepresent anything,” Lucas said.
After another employee involved in that press conference resigned, Hernandez says he told Platt it was because they were upset at the way Platt and the assistant city manager were treating them.
According to the lawsuit, Hernandez was later demoted and transferred and the Assistant City Manager took over as Communications Director. According to the lawsuit, Platt told Hernandez it was because she shared his vision.
Several city council members declined comment Thursday when asked about the alleged lying strategy.
Hernandez is now a special liaison officer in Kansas City’s Civil Rights & Equal Opportunity Department. “This whistle blower lawsuit clearly states our concerns about the honesty and transparency that Kansas City taxpayers and residents deserve from City Hall,” he said in a statement.
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