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FBI ramps up probe into contracts issued by Independence City Council

Multi-million dollar projects in question
Posted: 2:03 PM, Nov 26, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-26 15:19:57-05
Independence City Council

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The FBI is ramping up its probe into two high-cost projects pushed through by members of the Independence City Council.

Council members Karen DeLuccie and Scott Roberson said two different FBI agents separately questioned them about two controversial projects: The demolition of the Missouri City Power Plant and Rockwood Golf Club, which the city turned into a solar farm.

"They asked if I was suspicious of anything and I said, 'Just wasteful spending, I couldn't understand it," DeLuccie said. "Something's going on- but I don't know how it's going on."

The two projects cost Independence taxpayers more than $10 million dollars.

Money that didn't need to be spent, according to DeLuccie and Roberson.

The Missouri City Power Plant, located in a desolate area, was deemed safe by the EPA and did not need to come down.

A majority of the city council, with the exception of Roberson and DeLuccie, decided to move forward with the project anyway.

The city council, with the exception of DeLuccie and Roberson, selected Environmental Operations Inc. to do the job. The company bid the project at twice the cost of the low bidder.

Last year, DeLuccie and Roberson became further suspicious of the projects after a year-long 41 Action News investigation exposed several issues leading up to the votes.

Shortly after the piece aired in November 2018, an FBI agent began asking questions about the projects, according to a source within city hall.

"But for your [41 Action News] reporting, that six or seven minutes a year or so ago, that changed the tide of everything," DeLuccie said.

DeLuccie said she's been frustrated for years with the decisions made on behalf of her fellow city council members.

Now, as it appears the FBI is broadening the scope of its investigation to include more witnesses, DeLuccie said she hopes the FBI will bring clarity to the people of Independence.

"I either want vindication that the deals really were legitimate or... punishment," DeLuccie said. "We cannot continue this way, we the city. The cloud of suspicion is too heavy."

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