Chaffee City Council meeting may shed light on missing money

Sunday, February 5, 2006

CHAFFEE, Mo. -- The investigation into missing money from the Chaffee municipal court coffers has ended, but the uproar hasn't.

Some city council members and citizens still have questions. At Monday night's city council meeting they will try to get some answers.

Last week three city council members -- Mike Jobe, Wayne Hampton and Debbie Eichhorn -- released a statement saying they had no vote on stopping the investigation into the $1,000 that came up missing from the court in January. The money was owed to a man from the bond he posted to get out of the Chaffee jail after being arrested in the city on a Cape Girardeau warrant.

No charges filed

Police at the time questioned the court clerk, Robin Dannenmueller, about the missing money. The next day she deposited $1,000 into the appropriate account and forwarded it to Cape Girardeau, Chaffee police chief Jeff Womack said. That same day Womack asked for an investigation by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Dannenmueller resigned on Jan. 20, and the investigation was dropped. No charges have been filed.

The abrupt end to the investigation has aroused talk of favoritism among some Chaffee residents because Dannenmueller is the daughter of Councilman Bob Sullivan.

"The people think, and they're right, if that had been somebody else's family member things would have been different," said Jobe.

Hampton has pledged to keep the issue alive until the investigation has been reopened and completed. He thinks the council was misled by the mayor and police chief into thinking the investigation was ongoing.

'Some type of cover-up'

"I feel that no one is above the law, but it definitely appears there was some type of cover-up there," Hampton said on Jan. 27.

Council members were informed that the investigation was dropped only after Dannenmueller's resignation. Jobe said he would have liked the council to be informed when the missing money was discovered, not after the affair had been handled internally by the administration.

Other council members say they want to hear more evidence before they make a judgment on what should happen. They may get that chance, along with the public, on Monday.

Sullivan and Mayor Bill Cannon didn't return calls Friday.

msanders@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 182

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