Lawmakers party despite attacks

Thursday, September 20, 2001

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Between 25 and 50 state lawmakers were at a Sept. 11 party that was apparently so loud neighbors called the sheriff's office to complain, a Columbia television station reported Wednesday.

The party was held at Native Stone Winery in Cole County, the night of the terrorist attacks on Washington and New York City. KOMU-TV reported that between 25 and 50 House members showed up for the event.

Neighbors of the winery filed a complaint with the Cole County Sheriff's Department about the noise. Officers who responded to the neighbors' calls said they didn't arrest anyone at the party because no laws were broken.

The House Speaker's office said it was a casual affair for members of the Democratic Caucus, and was set up months in advance.

Rep. Chuck Graham, D-Columbia, told KOMU he didn't think the event was inappropriate.

"We gathered together as elected officials, for fellowship and friendship, for what, as far as we knew, could be the last night of peace," Graham said.

The winery said it stayed open for the lawmakers, but closed over the weekend because of the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.

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