JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A St. Louis attorney is utilizing the Missouri court system in an attempt to acquire answers from a nonprofit organization tied to former Gov. Eric Greitens.
This is not the first time a St. Louis attorney has sought answers through the court system. Through the Sunshine Project, two attorneys sued Greitens in his official capacity as governor in relation to his, and his staff’s, use of Confide. That lawsuit has produced more answers for citizens than an Attorney General investigation into the same matter.
Elad Gross, a constitutional attorney and former Assistant Attorney General of Missouri, filed a petition in Cole County Circuit Court on Friday evening against A New Missouri, Inc. and three of the organization’s board members: Michael Adams, Robin Simpson, and Jeff Stuerman. He is seeking the court to order the defendants to produce records as required under Missouri law.
A New Missouri was incorporated as a Missouri nonprofit corporation in February 2017 by Adams, a Washington, D.C. attorney and candidate for Kentucky’s Secretary of State. A New Missouri is closely linked with Greitens’ campaign, with the nonprofit spending millions of dollars influencing Missouri policy.
Since A New Missouri is a nonprofit and not a campaign committee, it does not have to disclose donors, though the organization’s practices came under further scrutiny during the House’s investigation into Greitens.
The Special Investigative Committee on Government Oversight was looking into whether the Greitens campaign had improperly coordinated with A New Missouri. Hours before Greitens resigned, a Cole County Circuit Court judge ordered A New Missouri to turn over its records to the House committee. But days after the governor left office, the House dropped its request for records without resolving their investigation.
“Missourians deserve to know who is influencing their government,” Gross said. “When our government serves powerful people who hide their identities, we get failing schools in poor neighborhoods, hospital shutdowns in rural Missouri, crumbling roads, healthcare for some, opportunity for the wealthy and the lucky, and far too many people who stop participating in making Missouri better because hope is a distant, faded feeling. That time is over.”
Gross sent A New Missouri, its directors, and its attorneys several requests for documents citing Missouri’s nonprofit laws starting on June 2. He also sent correspondences on June 5, June 7, June 12, and on June 18 gave the defendants an additional five days. On June 11, a courier tried and failed to reach A New Missouri at their office — which was locked.
He has not received a response to any of his requests. Gross is asking the court to order A New Missouri to turn over its records.
Pursuant to RSMo. § 355.821 and §355.826, Gross is seeking all minutes of meetings of Defendant A New Missouri, Inc.’s board of directors; all records of all actions taken by Defendant’s directors without a meeting; all records of all actions taken by committees of Defendant’s board of directors; all accounting records; all of the corporation’s bylaws, restated bylaws, and amendments to its bylaws; a list of the names and business or home addresses of Defendant’s directors and officers; and all financial statements of all income and expenses of the corporation.
He says it is a first step to bringing more transparency to Missouri government.
“This lawsuit is not the end. Missourians are going to expose the influence large, unidentified donations have on our government. We’re taking back our state,” said Gross.
Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at firstname.lastname@example.org.