WyCo Commissioner Tarence Maddox censured again, formal DA investigation and resignation requested

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A Wyandotte County politician is facing swift action in the wake of an incident caught on surveillance video.

On Thursday, Commissioner Tarence Maddox received his second public censure for throwing his title around and making threats to an employee at a Kansas City, Kan. gas station in January.

The censure letter, issued by Legislative Auditor Thomas Wiss, requested a formal investigation by Wyandotte County District Attorney Jerome Gorman. It also asked Maddox to resign.

"This second public censure be considered a formal request for the voluntary resignation from office by UG Commissioner Tarence Maddox on or before April 1, 2014," the letter said.

READ THE PUBLIC CENSURE

Maddox already became the first Unified Government official to receive a public censure last September in the wake of several ethics violations, including a highly-publicized temper tantrum at Legoland .

In the January 27 incident at a BP gas station, surveillance video obtained by 41 Action News captured Maddox repeatedly referencing his commissioner title when speaking to the clerk. The elected leader was apparently upset about a mistaken $20 charge on his card and frustrated he had not heard back from the owner about getting a refund.

“Let me give you this message,” Maddox told the clerk. “Tell him the commissioner said, ‘If he does not call me, I’m going to get an inspector down here to talk to him. And I’m going to require him to have a security guard overnight and he’ll have to pay for it.’ Tell him that.”

Maddox refused to discuss the incident when questioned by 41 Action News at City Hall on Feb. 20.

However, the day after the investigation aired, reaction poured into the 41 Action News Facebook page, including a defiant response from the commissioner himself .

The public censure is the maximum penalty that can be recommended under the UG Ethics Code, according to the letter.

A removal from office can only be accomplished through a recall election or through ouster proceedings initiated by the district attorney.

"This formal request for referral to the District Attorney's Office respectfully request such consideration to any other charges," the letter said.

When asked how rare investigating ouster of an elected official is, WyCo District Attorney Jerome Gorman said, "It's very rare. In my 31 years, it's never happened in Wyandotte County."

Gorman was elected DA in 2005 and started working in prosecutor's office in 1981. He said there would be no rush to judgment as he reviews the evidence.

"I think anyone in elected office deserves that. They've been put there by the people and deserve a proper process."

Ryan Kath can be reached at ryan.kath@kshb.com. You can also follow him on Twitter or connect on Facebook.

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