Home / Clay County / Smithville Lake slip holders file lawsuit, Sunshined emails show concern from Marina Specialist

Smithville Lake slip holders file lawsuit, Sunshined emails show concern from Marina Specialist

TheNorthlandNews.com has been covering the growing tension between Smithville Lake slip holders and Clay County over the last several weeks.

We were notified today that we should take a look at Missouri Case.net as the slip holders had officially filed a lawsuit against Clay County.

Case #17CY-CV01248 was filed on February 10, 2017. The case lists the parties as Jacob Long et al vs Clay County Commission et al. Long is the husband of Stacy Long who has appeared multiple times at the Clay County Commission meeting over the last few weeks. There are 10 plaintiffs in total on the case. The case has been assigned to Judge Janet Sutton.

The plaintiffs have also filed for a Writ of Mandamus and Temporary Restraining Order against the County. The docket entry sites 16-Ord-01 as an exhibit for the action. This is the county ordinance that states that slip holders are allowed to pay a late fee if they have not paid on time.

There currently is no trial date set.

Cory Booth reached out to us tonight with results of a Sunshine Request that he had filed with the County. He had requested the accounts of County Administrator Dean Brookshier, Assistant County Administrator Nicole Brown, and Clay County Tourism Manager Melissa Mohler be searched on the days when the county began denying the late fees.

Three things of interest can be seen from the results of the records request. First, Marina Specialist Madelyn Rawlings expressed concern to Assistant County Administrator Nicole Brown about the sudden change in policy from the previous year with the slip holders. The emails indicate the county should some leniency the previous year. Rawlings was so concerned she went as far to tell Brown that she was worried about her personal safety.

Second, Rawlings was concerned the actions would anger boaters. Third, there is one email that seems to indicate that Brown is using a private Gmail account to receive emails about official county business.

The following email chain is between Brown, Rawlings, and Clay County Tourism Manager Melissa Mohler on January 11, 12, and 13. It is published from recent to oldest.

From: “Brown, Nicole” <[email protected]>Date: January 13, 2017 at 6:04:56 AM CST
To: “Brookshier, Dean” <[email protected]>, “Portwood, Laurie” <[email protected]>
Subject: FW: Slip renewals

Madelyn Rawlings came to Melissa Mohler in tears yesterday when she was told to call the waiting list. She doesn’t believe this is fair to slipholders and has advised Melissa that she believes her staff may be in danger. I expect a list of possibly dangerous customers this morning, as we will immediately ask them to leave the property if they do become violent or belligerent. Melissa has already contacted John Davis, Interim Parks Security Manager, to increase Ranger presence.

—–Original Message—–
From: Brown, Nicole
Sent: Friday, January 13, 2017 6:03 AM
To: Mohler, Melissa
Subject: FW: Slip renewals

Melissa,

First thing this morning please have Madelyn go through each slipholder list by marina and tell you which slipholders have the potential to be violent. We will not expose our staff to dangerous individuals. Thank you for already talking to the Ranger Division about increasing presence and having radios on hand.

I would also like, in writing, the plan to move forward with the waiting list. “Checks are in the mail” is not an acceptable excuse for non-payment.

Thank you!

—–Original Message—–
From: Rawlings, Madelyn
Sent: Thursday, January 12, 2017 10:05 PM
To: Brown, Nicole
Cc: Mohler, Melissa
Subject: Re: Slip renewals

I know. But it still just worries me. People are unpredictable.
Madelyn Rawlings
Sent from iPhone
On Jan 12, 2017, at 10:00 PM, Brown, Nicole <[email protected]> wrote:

It is imperative that our staff are safe. If you believe there are slipholders who will be violent, please identify them to your supervisor. We are working closely with the rangers to keep you safe.

Nicole Brown
Assistant County Administrator – Public Services Clay County MO

On Jan 12, 2017, at 9:16 PM, Rawlings, Madelyn <[email protected]> wrote:

I don’t remember who approved the extension last lease period.
I will do whatever you want me to do. I was just asked my recommendation so I gave it. I’m not saying one way is better than the other. Either way there is going to be a lot of angry slipholders who hopefully don’t do anything worse than come in and yell at me and my staff. My main concern is the marina staff and their safety.

Madelyn Rawlings
Sent from iPhone

On Jan 12, 2017, at 9:01 PM, Brown, Nicole <[email protected]> wrote:

Who did not enforce the terms?

It sounds like we are in good shape to hold to our leases, without exception, starting tomorrow. Unless somewhere in our letter and lease it indicated that we would be flexible on the deadline? I don’t remember that in the letter I approved.

Nicole Brown
Assistant County Administrator – Public Services Clay County MO

On Jan 12, 2017, at 8:56 PM, Rawlings, Madelyn <[email protected]> wrote:

No but it has never been truly enforced. Last lease period we extended the deadline an extra two weeks and that was only for a handful of slipholders. We also didn’t charge a late fee last time.

Madelyn Rawlings
Sent from iPhone

On Jan 12, 2017, at 8:28 PM, Brown, Nicole <[email protected]> wrote:

Did someone tell them last time that paying late was acceptable under new management? I am confused.

Nicole Brown
Assistant County Administrator – Public Services Clay County MO

On Jan 12, 2017, at 7:39 PM, Rawlings, Madelyn <[email protected]> wrote:

I do think it should be enforced but since it’s never truly been enforced before, the slipholders were not expecting it. Next lease period we just need to make it more clear that we are not messing around anymore and from now on all deadlines are strictly enforced. Also if we charge a 10% late fee that is a punishment and a costly enough punishment that I don’t think they will forget again. Plus it will get around to the other slipholders and hopefully next time they will be more prompt with their payments to avoid their own punishments.

Madelyn Rawlings
Sent from iPhone

On Jan 12, 2017, at 7:32 PM, Brown, Nicole <[email protected]> wrote:

How do you explain to the taxpayers who foot the majority of the bill for our Parks system that we are not enforcing the rules on slip holders, but every single taxpayer who fails to pay their property taxes in a timely fashion is swiftly punished?

Nicole Brown
Assistant County Administrator – Public Services Clay County,
Missouri

On Jan 12, 2017, at 6:04 PM, Rawlings, Madelyn <[email protected]> wrote:

In my opinion, it would be much less of a slap in the face to the slipholders if we charged a late fee rather than just kick them out. The hard deadline has never been enforced so it’s understandable that most of them don’t expect it to be enforced this time. Yes, some of them are probably not paying just to try to stick it to the county but most of them honestly just forgot or haven’t had a chance to come down due to weather and such. I think we should call all the unpaid slipholders tomorrow and tell them that a 10% late fee is now added on to their bill. Give them a set time to pay and then kick the ones out who haven’t paid after that. Then next lease period we can stress that the deadline is in fact the deadline. While I understand that they were given 30 days to pay and logically should have paid in that time, this rule has just never fully been enforced. Even last lease period we added two weeks on to the deadline. This is how I would proceed but please let me know how you want me to.

Thanks,

Madelyn Rawlings
Sent from iPhone

On Jan 12, 2017, at 5:43 PM, Mohler, Melissa <[email protected]> wrote:

What is your recommendation to proceed?

Sent from my iPhone

On Jan 12, 2017, at 4:50 PM, Rawlings, Madelyn <[email protected]> wrote:

Ok. Also attached is the document about late fees I was talking about. It is the highlighted section.

—–Original Message—–
From: Mohler, Melissa
Sent: Thursday, January 12, 2017 3:40 PM
To: Rawlings, Madelyn
Cc: Brown, Nicole
Subject: RE: Slip renewals

We will call them to remove their boat after the slip has been leased, advise them if the boat is not removed by the end of the day, we will have it removed by a towing company. We can call GT Towing to remove their boats the next morning. Please let them know the size of the boat. Please go thru all relocations first thing tomorrow and begin the waiting list at the latest tomorrow afternoon.

Make sure to send me a final list at 5pm tonight so we have final counts of who paid and who didn’t.

—–Original Message—–
From: Rawlings, Madelyn
Sent: Thursday, January 12, 2017 3:37 PM
To: Mohler, Melissa
Cc: Brown, Nicole
Subject: RE: Slip renewals

We have to relocate the current slipholders first. What are we going to do about the people who haven’t paid or responded?

—–Original Message—–
From: Mohler, Melissa
Sent: Thursday, January 12, 2017 3:32 PM
To: Rawlings, Madelyn
Cc: Brown, Nicole
Subject: RE: Slip renewals

First thing tomorrow, we need to start calling the waiting list and go thru as many as we can.

Thanks!

—–Original Message—–
From: Rawlings, Madelyn
Sent: Thursday, January 12, 2017 3:23 PM
To: Mohler, Melissa
Subject: RE: Slip renewals

Attached is the updated paid slipholders.

—–Original Message—–
From: Mohler, Melissa
Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2017 1:24 PM
To: Rawlings, Madelyn
Subject: Re: Slip renewals

Make sure all are called today before everyone leaves. And send me an updated list on Thursday around 3pm.

Thank you!

Sent from my iPhone

On Jan 11, 2017, at 1:22 PM, Rawlings, Madelyn <[email protected]> wrote:

We finished calling CBM and SBC. We are still working on PPM. There have been quite a few people coming in to pay today as well.

—–Original Message—–
From: Mohler, Melissa
Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2017 1:21 PM
To: Rawlings, Madelyn
Subject: Slip renewals

Can you give me an update on where we are on slightly renewals and phone calls.

Thanks!

Sent from my iPhone

The following is a screen grab from the files that Booth provided us. It is taken from inside of Microsoft Outlook.

We searched Google+ to see if the email would return an account. It did.

The County Commission did not meet this week due to a County holiday. The Commission will also not meet next week due to a Federal holiday.

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