In city emails obtained through an open records request, KCTV5 News discovered former Grandview Mayor Steve Dennis writing about his need to resign and concerns about spending a year in prison.
One portion of the email from Dennis to an architect he was corresponding with about a development project said, "Didn't go well at all on Monday....I will need to resign as Mayor as soon as tomorrow..."
In another section, Dennis wrote, "Please pray for the family...I'm not sure how we're going to make it financially when I'm gone for a year to PRISON (never thought I'd be saying that about myself). I'm just hoping to wake up from this 'nightmare!'"
The emails were written on Jan. 9. Dennis submitted his letter of resignation on Jan. 10.
"What I read in the emails was news to me, so I'm learning about it as you learn about it apparently," said John Gall, the special council for the city of Grandview.
It is unknown exactly why the mayor quit his job. However, at least two different aldermen said they'd been questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation about Dennis' charity.
"Being sort of understanding of what's happened in the last week, it gives a little more explanation of why he's resigned," said Brent Steeno, Ward 1 alderman, who was one of the members questioned by the FBI.
Steeno and another alderman claim they were wrongly listed as officers on the board of Dennis' charity. Last year they wrote letters to the Secretary of State's Office against Dennis, saying they were not involved, leading to the federal investigation.
"From my standpoint and Alderman [John] Maloney's standpoint, I feel very confident going forward," Steeno said.
It's the same expression used by the newly appointed Interim Mayor Leonard Jones Jr., who declined comment on Dennis' emails.
"We've got a great board of aldermen, great city staff, so it's time to just move forward and start doing the things that should be done," Jones said.
During a Jan. 14 board of Aldermen meeting, former alderman Tony Preyer spoke up in defense of Dennis during public comment.
"The story is a political witch hunt which has destroyed an awesome man," he said. "Unfortunately, federal law enforcement was used, and they are happy to nail a politician because it is great for advancement in the agency."
Dennis has served more than 13 years in elected office, the last three as Grandview's mayor. In order to keep his mayoral position, Jones will have to run for his seat in a special election that will be held in April.
Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved
Tuesday, September 2 2014 8:02 PM EDT2014-09-03 00:02:03 GMT
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