Suit against two Cole circuit judges ill-advised

Thursday, September 20, 2001

A judge ruled Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon can't force two Cole County judges to turn over to the state $2.75 million that remains unclaimed from state cases involving utility bill overpayments and an insolvent insurance company.

The ruling by Osage County Circuit Judge Gael D. Wood in favor of circuit judges Byron Kinder and Thomas Brown III apparently puts an end to Nixon's ill-advised quest.

Kinder and Brown used some of the interest from the money to remodel courtrooms. State Auditor Clair McCaskill recommended that the judges turn over the unclaimed money to the state, and Nixon claimed the money should go to the state's Unclaimed Properties Division.

Considering the reputations of Kinder and Brown, Nixon should have known he couldn't use them as scapegoats in an effort to boost Missouri coffers from this case and similar ones lying in courthouses around the state.

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