JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Cole County Prosecutor’s Office will not pursue charges relating to allegations of conflicts-of-interest between two state agencies and a trucking technology company.
On Thursday, Mark Richardson said he found no probable cause of any criminal wrongdoing and will not file any criminal charges against officials at the State Highway Patrol and Missouri Department of Transportation relating to a contract to provide weigh-in-motion technology for trucks to bypass weigh stations.
An investigation by Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway alleged that state officials gave preferential treatment to the not-for-profit HELP Inc. over its competitor, Drivewyze. She said that her office found potential conflict-of-interest and financial-reporting law violations.
Until a month into Galloway’s investigations, MoDOT and Highway Patrol staff sat on the board of HELP, Inc. while also regulating the state’s trucking industry.
Galloway turned over the documents to the FBI and Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, who in turn recommended Richardson press charges.
Hawley’s office requested misdemeanor charges against four former state workers: Jan Skouby, Scott Marion, Greg Kindle, and Brett Johnson. Richardson said his office interviewed the four people, as well as witnesses, and reviewed documents but found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
The audit found a revolving door of state officials who would leave their positions to work for HELP, Inc. and continued to work with former co-workers. Under Missouri law, state staffers must wait for a year after leaving their position before taking on a role that has them working to influence their former agency.
In a letter to the attorney general’s office, Richardson described both Galloway and Hawley’s investigations as incomplete saying that the request for charges “was not based upon a thorough investigation.”
“Our office has found no evidence that any of the four either got a personal gain or cost the state any money by virtue of their work for the state or, after retirement, for Help Inc.,” Richardson wrote. “There has been no evidence found that any acts done by any of the four constitute public corruption.”
Mary Compton, an attorney general spokeswoman, said in a statement to multiple news outlets that the office “stands by our analysis that there was probable cause to file charges against three former public employees. We respectfully disagree with Mr. Richardson’s conclusions.”
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 email@example.com.