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.
Despite opposition from reinstated Ellisville Mayor Adam Paul, tax breaks for a proposed Walmart development are moving forward, albeit slowly. The City Council voted 4-3 Wednesday night to authorize TIFs for project developer Sansone Group.
The vote came after Jim Sansone and Mayor Paul exchanged heated words during the packed meeting. Sansone promised court action if the council reversed their 2012 approval of the development. Paul acknowledged his continued opposition, but also recognized that the council majority would rule.
A second vote is needed to finalized the bill. That's expected to happen at a special council meeting later this month.
The City of Ellisville is still without a mayor after the City Council vote to reinstate ousted Mayor Adam Paul ended in a 3-3 tie Wednesday night.
The result surprised many residents and Paul supporters. That's because one of three new council members who took offices after Paul was impeached voted not to reinstate him. Many had believed that council member Cindy Pool had been a Paul supporter.
Paul says he was disappointed with Pool's vote. He says she isn't listening to her constituents and that's going to be costly. "You know, it's going to cost the city probably a quarter-million dollars now," he said. "It's just more of the same we had with our last council."
Paul's attorney says he'll ask a judge next week to reinstate Paul while he awaits a ruling on his appeal. The court date for that appeal hasn't been set.
The Council did agree to hold a special election for Mayor in November.
It was another raucous night in Ellisville Wednesday as supporters of the impeached mayor, Adam Paul, tried to get him reinstated.
But the city council didn't get to vote on the issue because City Manager, Kevin Bookout, pulled the item from the agenda saying he wanted to get a legal opinion on it first.
Newly elected council member Mick Cahill told Fox 2 news that Paul's supporters plan to put the reinstatement question back on the council agenda. "We'll have to do it in a different way, putting it in as an amendment. And then once we do that, we'll be able to take that and hopefully be able to vote on it," he said.
City residents expressed outrage at a packed council meeting last night. One recurring issue: the amount the impeachment battle is costing taxpayers, including an eight-thousand dollar bill for emergency PR services to handle the impeachment fallout.
Paul's attorney, Chet Pleban, told the council that the impeachment costs are going to continue to climb, because "Adam Paul's not going away." He added, "This 84,418 bucks is the beginning of your legal fees, not the end of your legal fees."
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.
The city of Ellisville is without a mayor. That's because the city council voted 5-to-1 to impeach Adam Paul Monday evening.
Mayor Paul and his attorney Chet Pleban left before the final vote. They have maintained for weeks that the impeachment hearings and deliberation were just for show -- that the council's decision was a foregone conclusion based on Paul's opposition to using tax incentives to build a new Walmart.
But former mayor, Councilman Matt Pirrello denies that and tells McGraw in the Morning here on the Big 550 although he's not a fan of tax increment financing--he would still vote in favor of the Walmart TIF.
Matt Pirrello says, "As a responsible leader for my community, I cannot sit back and let my municipality go broke standing on principle."
Before taking the impeachment vote, the council found Paul guilty on six charges of violating the city's charter.
Paul says he'll ask a St. Louis County judge to set aside the impeachment until the newly elected city council takes office April 17th so that the new council can make the decision.
The Ellisville City Council is expected to decide Monday evening whether or not to impeach their mayor, Adam Paul. The council has scheduled public deliberations at 6:00 p.m.
If the council votes to oust Paul, he has said he'll sue.
The council has already retained attorneys to defend the impeachment, but the vigor of that defense is up in the air, since a newly elected council will be seated April 17th.
Three new council members were elected April 2nd - two of them are Paul supporters. The third hasn't made her position known. Paul opponents Matt Pirrello and Rose Acup will remain on the council, along with Linda Reel, who had voted against charging Paul in the first place.
Mayor Paul was elected in April 2012 after campaigning against tax increment financing for a development that includes a new Walmart store. The TIF was approved despite his opposition.
The fate of Ellisville's embattled mayor won't be known until next week. The City Council was supposed to vote on Mayor Adam Paul's impeachment Wednesday, but postponed deliberations until Monday.
Paul and his attorney Chet Pleban spoke with KTRS's McGraw Millhaven Thursday morning about the proceedings.
Some of the charges against Mayor Paul were dropped last night - due to a lack of evidence. Those include allegations Paul leaked confidential information. Paul says those charges should never have been brought against him.
"Releasing confidential information is pretty, pretty significant, and they're pretty serious allegations," Paul told McGraw. "And if you're going to put allegations like that out there, you better have some evidence."
Paul's attorney Chet Pleban told KTRS's McGraw Millhaven this morning that the charges against his client keep shifting. Pleban says although some charges against his client have been dropped, another charge - that Paul improperly questioned a city official - took center stage at last night's council meeting.
Pleban says the charge stems from an inquiry the mayor made on behalf of a constituent. Pleban told McGraw that the resident wanted to know how he would be compensated for being displaced from low-income housing by the new Walmart development.
"He went to the person who was the relocation expert and asked that question of what does this person get," Pleban said. "He got the answer to that question. He was satisfied with the answer, took it back to his constituent. And now they want to impeach him for asking the relocation person that particular question."
Paul says that when the council finally votes on it, he expects to be ousted, and if that happens, he says he will sue.
Pleban says the city council is already hiring legal representation in anticipation of that lawsuit.
Mayor Pro Tem Matt Pirrello told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Paul's attorney had asked for the extra five days in order to prepare his defense.
The council had suspended Paul February 27 on charges that he violated the city's charter. Paul has maintained that the action stemmed from his vigorous opposition to a controversial tax increment financing for a Walmart development.
Three city council seats will be decided in the April 2nd election.
Also last night, the City Council rejected tax incentives for a second proposed development from Sansone Group. The developer had already won a TIF for a Walmart project.