JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A local judge has sided with a nonprofit group linked with former-Gov. Eric Greitens that said the St. Louis attorney looking to inspect their financial records “has no skin in the game.”
On Tuesday, Cole County Judge Jon Beetem permanently squashed the lawsuit filed by Elad Gross, who previously worked for the Attorney General’s Office, against A New Missouri Inc. Gross filed the legal challenge in June, seeking to force the nonprofit to open their records and reveal how they are spending the money that is donated to them.
“The Court having read the briefs and heard arguments finds that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted,” Beetem wrote in his two-page ruling.
Under Missouri statute, to access the records Gross was seeking, he must either be a member, have the rights of a member, or be a resident of a class of resident who has paid into A New Missouri for services or other charges over 50 percent of A New Missouri’s operating expenses.
Since A New Missouri is a “issue advocacy organization established to promote policies to create more jobs, higher pay, safer streets, better schools, and more, for all Missourians,” Gross argued in court that he benefits from the groups work.
Following arguments in court in October, Catherine Hanaway, representing A New Missouri, said that the statute that Gross cites, only “pertains to anyone who has skin in the game.”
Beetem noted that A New Missouri has no members and that Gross failed to plead he is a resident of a class of residents described.
“[Gross] has failed to plead facts to establish that he has standing to pursue this statutory claim or that he can state a cause of action for relief under the governing statute,” Beetem said in his dismissal.
The amended petition filed by Gross named individual defendants which Beetem also dismissed. The judge stated that even if Gross was “entitled to inspect A New Missouri’s records, he would still have no statutory basis for a suit against any individual.”
Read the full ruling here.
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.