A small town mayor was removed from office, and it is all over who she hired to do some odd jobs around the city.
A judge validated the accusations and removed the mayor from office after a trial.
Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd filed a civil lawsuit against Mayor Rita Rhoads on Monday. Rhoads has been the mayor of Tracy, a tiny northwest Missouri town of 208 people since 2008. She was removed from office Friday after a trial in the Platte County Circuit Court.
The lawsuit contends Rhoads violated a state law by hiring her son-in-law, Matthew Spores, three times to perform city maintenance work. One job required fixing a city sign, another involved repairing a city garage door and another was to replace a water heater.
The aldermen approved the job, but Rhoads was later suspended from her duties, accused of nepotism. But the prosecutor said it is the principle that counts in this case
"The constitution does not permit any exception for small town or for the amount of payment," Zahnd said.
The civil suit sought to have Rhoads removed from office because of a $100 check. Her attorney contends the small contract job, fixing the sign, doesn't count as employment.
Residents in town said they all know each other too well and many were unaware of the action.
As for whether Zahnd is taking things too far, there are two witness accounts that further frustrate the integrity issue.
One witness reports that Rhoads hit the shredder the day after detectives stopped by, and another reported interaction with a city employee on the subject.
"She was told by a city employee that she was violating the constitution and her response was something to the effect of, 'I know, but they need the money,' meaning her daughter and son-in-law needed the money," Zahnd said.
The board of alderman are temporarily in charge until a new mayor is put in place.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to the report.
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