KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Clay County failed to turn over records and testimony required under a subpoena Monday in what Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway called “an unprecedented move.”
In a news release, Galloway said her office plans to take Clay County to court to demand compliance with the subpoena, first issued on Nov. 8 and again last week. She said it’s the first time the office has needed to take that step.
Clay County needed to turn over documents related to a citizen-mandated audit of the county’s financial records by 10 a.m. Monday to comply with the subpoena. More than 9,000 residents signed a petition seeking the audit last year.
"The audit team is pursuing information routinely and readily provided in audits of county government, but has been continually met with last-minute delays, inconsistent information and excuses from the county," Galloway's office said in the release.
In a statement released Monday afternoon, the Clay County Commission said that it provided "significant advance notice" that the assistant administrator would be unavailable due to a "previous commitment to be out of the office with her family during the Thanksgiving holiday." However, assistant county administrator "assured" the auditor that she would be available at another time "convenient for both," according to the statement.
The commission also stated that it confirmed with the state auditor that "nearly all of the documents subject to the subpoena issued on November 8 have been produced to its staff," noting that exceptions include documents pertaining to attorney-client privilege, confidential employee medical records and any that are "under the control of other independently elected officials."
"Further, the county has been in contact with the State Auditor’s office throughout the last week to communicate and coordinate on these requests," the release stated. "The State Auditor’s office was open to these discussions and is aware of the county’s progress in putting together responses to her requests."
Clay County and Galloway’s office have publicly sparred over the audit in recent months. Galloway has accused the county of obstruction, while the county has said Galloway is overstepping her constitutional authority.
In January, the county sued to prevent Galloway’s office from conducting the audit, but a judge dismissed the suit in October.