One month after mysterious resignation, former Grandview mayor pleads guilty to wire fraud
7:10 PM, Feb 10, 2014
6:51 PM, Feb 11, 2014
KANSAS CITY, Mo - Former Grandview Mayor Steve Dennis pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in federal court on Tuesday.
He is convicted of taking $35,000 worth of donations from the International House of Prayer under a bogus charity and using it for his personal expenses.
Dennis, who hasn't spoken publicly since the controversy surfaced, had originally said he planned to make a statement after Tuesday's court proceedings. But following the hearing, his attorney indicated his client had nothing to say because of the "sensitive nature of the issues.
However, as Dennis left the courthouse, he spoke briefly with 41 Action News.
"I truly am not allowed to say anything right now," Dennis said. "I really need the ability for me and my family to be able to handle this and the pain that it's caused."
The plea deal comes roughly one month after Dennis abruptly resigned from his post in January without offering explanation for the sudden decision.
"For many years we have esteemed Steve Dennis as a man of integrity - he has a proven track record," said Lenny La Guardia of the International House of Prayer in an emailed statement. "We are grateful for the excellent way he has served Grandview for many years. Our prayers are with him and his family."
But those campaign finance documents also revealed a large chunk of money spent after the election at places like the Apple Store. An FBI agent who also requested the file last year left behind a copy of his business card, providing an ominous warning sign of what was to come.
41 Action News also
discovered questionable expenses with Dennis' city-issued credit card. Thousands of dollars worth of purchases lacked any receipts, including hundreds of dollars on Christmas Eve 2012 at several retail stores.
Dennis claimed to dine with several politicians on the taxpayers' dime, but those elected leaders told 41 Action News the meetings never occurred.
Following that story, newly-appointed Mayor Leonard Jones implemented new policies with purchasing cards issued to city officials.
41 Action News asked Dennis on Tuesday if taxpayer money was misused.
"Unequivocally no," Dennis answered. This was all about just the donations to the nonprofit. That is it."