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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."