Paid election letter: The $26,350 question

In the 1950s we watched a TV game show called "The $64,000 Question." In 2012 we modified this theme, and we call it the $26,350 question. That is the amount of money that Commissioner Jay Purcell cost the county for his failed, self-inflicted lawsuit and two subsequent appeals that also failed. Now this is not conjecture or unsubstantiated allegations. This is fact.

As a reminder to the voters, Mr. Purcell secretly tape recorded a closed session meeting of the county commission. He then secretly tape recorded another commissioner's private conversation with him on a trip to Jefferson City. Upon return, he ran to the media with his recording in an effort to embarrass the other commissioner. If this was not illegal, it certainly was unethical. Due to the fear he might be facing prosecution, he immediately sued himself and the two other commissioners for reasons still not entirely understandable. Three different courts ruled against him, including the Missouri Supreme Court! A total of nine judges ruled against him.

For his failed efforts he cost the county $26,350. Approximately half the population of this county lives outside the 2nd District's boundaries. Therefore, approximately half the population cannot vote in that race, but 100 percent of the taxpayers had to foot the bill for this absurdity. Unfortunately, Missouri does not have a loser-pays law. Perhaps this can be corrected in the upcoming legislative session. It does not matter here because Mr. Purcell has no intention of taking the high moral ground and repaying the county.

That amount of money is probably more than a lot of people's annual income in this area. That amount of money could have purchased a much needed vehicle for a county department. That amount of money could have paid for much needed repairs and upgrades to the county courthouse. That amount of money could have built one of those county park picnic shelters that Purcell is so proud of. There are two other candidates in the 2nd District commissioner race. I pray that one of them emerges victorious Aug. 7.


JAMES C. ROCHE', 3137 County Road 349, Jackson, MO 63755