GRANDVIEW, Mo. - Emails obtained Tuesday by 41 Action News reveal former Grandview Mayor Steve Dennis feared he might be headed to prison, even as he finalized plans to resign his post.
The emails from Dennis's final weeks in office mostly show a small town mayor interested in development projects and other city business. But by early January, his correspondence with a local architect turned personal and fearful.
On January 9, Dennis writes to the architect that a meeting with an unidentified person or agency "did not go well."
"I will need to resign as mayor as soon as tomorrow," he continued.
Dennis indeed filed his letter of resignation the next day and sent the following request to the architect:
"Please pray for the family," Dennis wrote. "I'm not sure we're going to make it financially when I'm gone for a year to prison."
A few days later, Dennis wrote to his former colleagues at City Hall from a personal email address. He told them he could not provide more details about his resignation "for legal reasons" and asks anyone questioned about his departure to "remain generic."
Dennis hasn't spoken to reporters or provided any more information since his resignation, but speculation at Grandview City Hall continues to focus on Dennis's charity, Matters of the Heart, Inc.
Incorporated, then dissolved two years later with no known public impact, the charity featured two aldermen listed on its board who later said they had no knowledge of the organization's existence. Dennis chalked the error up to a copy-and-paste mistake, but that didn't satisfy the FBI who questioned four aldermen about the charity and even pulled some of the charity's financial records.
Alderman Brent Steeno, one of those questioned by the FBI, said Tuesday that when all the facts became known, they would show Dennis's troubles were not related to city business.
"There's no way that what happened with Steve has any relationship with the city of Grandview besides him being mayor," Steeno said.