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Developer convicted of stealing water

Monday, June 3, 2002

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A developer convicted of stealing water from the Jackson County city of Oak Grove said he was the victim of local politics and that nothing was actually stolen.

Jack Hackley, 68, was convicted on Friday of stealing almost 5 million gallons from July 25 through July 30, 1999. The water was used to fill two retention ponds at his manufactured-homes development, White Oaks Crossing. Hackley had 10 percent ownership of the project, formerly known as Hackley Farms, and oversaw its daily operation.

Hackley faces a maximum fine of $5,000. Special prosecutor Mark Nasteff requested no jail time. Sentencing was set for June 28.

Hackley testified Thursday that he had never authorized anyone to open the fire hydrants to fill the ponds. He also said that when Oak Grove learned of the loss, it billed Hackley Farms for nearly $10,000, which Hackley paid.

"How can you be charged for stealing something you paid for?" he asked.

Hackley also said the loss estimate was inflated because the water lines had a leak.

Hackley complained that the criminal case was the result of local politicians conspiring against him. He said he ran unsuccessfully for mayor in April 2000 and antagonized some residents.


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