Former Grandview mayor refunding taxpayers for fake lunches, Christmas Eve spending

Before the former Grandview mayor checks into federal prison, he is refunding taxpayers for questionable expenses first uncovered by a 41 Action News investigation. 

A federal judge sentenced Steve Dennis to a year in prison earlier this month

In February, Dennis pleaded guilty to a fraud charge for pocketing $35,000 in donations for a
defunct non-profit, "Matters of the Heart." 

The federal probe did not focus on taxpayer money, but 41 Action News took a closer look at purchases from Dennis' city-issued credit card in January. 

The investigation found suspicious purchases at several retail stores on Christmas Eve . There were also fake lunches with local politicians like Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders, and Kansas City council members Jan Marcason and John Sharp.

Following the story, city leaders launched an internal review of the credit card expenses. Mayor Leonard Jones also implemented new rules for how the taxpayer-funded cards could be used.

On Tuesday, Grandview City Attorney Joe Gall told 41 Action News he identified 16 different expenses and asked Dennis to refund taxpayers $961.

The refund request includes more than $600 spent on Christmas Eve at three stores and 13 different meals. One trip to the Capital Grille cost $107.87 with no receipt provided.

So far, city leaders said Dennis has paid back all but $100 of the tab. City Administrator Cory Smith said he's hoping to reconcile the difference before the former mayor checks into prison in September.

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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