Chaffee's charges

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Felony theft charges were filed against former Chaffee city court clerk Robin Dannenmueller last week, two weeks after Scott County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Boyd announced that an investigation into the $1,000 missing from a city account had been terminated. Boyd's statement said the investigation was terminated due to an "internal decision to accept the restitution and resignation of the city court clerk."

Boyd's announcement came one day after the Chaffee City Council was told that Dannenmueller had resigned. Before resigning, Dannenmueller, the daughter of Chaffee Councilman Bob Sullivan, gave the city $1,000 as restitution, money she borrowed from her father. The bond had been paid in Chaffee in November. The money was discovered missing Jan. 14. Dannenmueller made restitution Jan. 17.

Three councilmen signed a letter stating they were never asked to participate in that "internal decision." Who made the decision? Mayor Bill Cannon has refused any comment.

So far Boyd has skirted or refused to answer questions about how an investigation his office announced had been terminated suddenly resulted in charges. The Missouri State Highway Patrol did not terminate the investigation as Boyd stated. Instead, the patrol provided Boyd with a probable-cause statement citing evidence that a crime was committed. Whether or not to file charges was Boyd's decision.

The back-door maneuvers in Chaffee and the unexplained backtracking by the prosecuting attorney's office leave us wondering when some government officials will get the message that the people's business is meant to be conducted in the open.

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