The Ellisville city manager is out -- the latest casualty of political controversy that's divided the west county community. The city council voted 4-2 Monday night to terminate Kevin Bookout.
Mayor Adam Paul told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Bookout was fired "with cause," meaning he can't collect the six-month severance package called for in his contract. Paul told the paper that Bookout can seek arbitration on the matter of severance.
Bookout's testimony had been key in Paul's impeachment earlier this year. That impeachment was later overturned in court.
Paul had campaigned for office on his opposition to tax subsidies for construction of a new Walmart. The city leaders who impeached him had favored the TIFs.
The conditional use permits issued for a proposed new Walmart in Ellisville are set to expire Thursday, and the fate of the project remains unclear.
Developer Sansone won a major court challenge to the $50 million project last week, but still has acquired only about eight acres of land and that doesn't include the Clarkchester Apartments. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that contracts Sansone had with some of the complex's nine owners expired in July, and at least two have declined to renew.
The city issued a building permit Wednesday and Public Works Director Bill Schwer told the paper Sansone could break ground Thursday on the property it does own.
But at Wednesday night's city council meeting, Mayor Adam Paul asked City Attorney George Restovich to find out if the city could legally terminate its agreement with Sansone which includes $10 million in tax increment financing approved last year, before half the council was replaced in the last election.
Also Wednesday night, the City Council voted 4-3 to have Restovich draft a resolution terminating long-time City Manager Kevin Bookout, a proponent of the project. Bookout was also involved in the attempt to oust Mayor Paul earlier this year, but Paul says Bookout's termination isn't about revenge.
Ellisville's ousted mayor is making good on his promise to appeal his impeachment in court. Former Mayor Adam Paul filed an appeal in St. Louis County Circuit Court Wednesday asking a judge to overturn his April 8th impeachment.
But he didn't stop there.
Paul also filed a defamation lawsuit against his accusers. The suit claims City Attorney Paul Martin, Council Member Matt Pirrello, City Manager Kevin Bookout and resident Katie James harmed his reputation by making unsubstantiated allegations against him.
Paul hand delivered a copy of the lawsuit to the city council at last night's council meeting.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the new city council, which took office Wednesday night, has decided not to appoint an interim mayor to take Paul's place. The council plans to proceed with a special election, but the details have not yet been determined.