"...I debated whether or not to respond at all to Mr. Scearceís recent attacks and concluded I had better make some comments in a reactive mode. It is not my intent to continue to discuss this matter and have no plans for further comment. I remain focused on the promise I made to Joplinís citizens on 5-29-11, to rebuild back bigger and better than we were before the tornado.
I would agree with Mr. Scearceís comments about an effort to attempt to deflect attention from the real issue, but I would suggest that he is the one attempting to create the distraction. A review of todayís local paper would call attention to a tag line or teaser on page 10A about an article scheduled to appear in Sundayís paper. This is the real issue at hand and what Mr. Scearce is attempting to get out in front of, by the scheduling and holding of his press conference. This matter is about him and his past business dealings and not about me, which is where he is trying to shift it.
He is right about the meeting that was held in my office in March. During that meeting, Mr. Scearce was venting his displeasure to the police chief about the chief telling me about Scearceís involvement in a felony investigation. This investigation had been going on for approximately 5 years and was not as distant as Mr. Scearce would have you believe. I had conveyed that information to the cityís past three mayors, in the event that Mr. Scearceís name would surface in a way that would prove embarrassing to the City of Joplin. The chief had received permission to do so, from the FBI, and according to him even I was not told of all the details surrounding Mr. Scearceís involvement in circumstances regarding the investigation.
I have had conversations with the local paperís editor regarding the story slated for Sundayís paper (as I believe all of the council members have). It is my understanding the article has been in the works for some time and that a public recordsí request for the FBI files regarding the investigation is approximately one year old. At one point, we played tag in returning phone calls and there may have been a note on my desk with her phone number on it. I have been known to take notes on these sheets and may have written down the name of one of Mr. Scearceís past associates on that note. That name was already on the record (and in the paper), as the disposition of the case regarding illegal bookmaking was in the public domain, since the case had been adjudicated. The real question on this matter is how did Mr. Scearce get a note that was on my desk? The offices at City Hall are locked up when we go home at night.
Mr. Scearce, in his statement, goes on to claim that I am attempting to use a decades- old FBI investigation to discredit him. First of all, it is not a decades-old FBI investigation, as he would have you believe, but is much more recent. Secondly, I am not mounting any campaign against him. The local paper is working on an article that I was asked to comment on. I do believe this played a role in the recent attempt Mr. Scearce led regarding my employment with the city. He has stated to many that he wants to be mayor. He will not be able to do so if I tell all that I know regarding these circumstances. Additionally, having a strong personality sitting in the city managerís chair, would prevent him from imposing his version of the good-old-boy network system of government that has held Joplin back in the past."
In his statement, Mr. Scearce claims to be a fair and honest person. The citizens of Joplin will have the opportunity to decide if that claim holds up when the article appears in the local paper on Sunday and even more so when the FBIís records are released.
Councilman's Scearce"s press conference appears below: