SUGAR CREEK, Mo. — The mayor of Sugar Creek, Missouri, says the city will fine a business owner $500 for every day he does not fix a flooding issue along U.S. 24.
The problem is a broken culvert underneath the road. It caused a sinkhole in the parking lot of the Best Buy car lot at 10610 E. U.S. 24 several years ago. The owner, Mark Cosgrove, filled it in with gravel, blocking the water flow.
In 2015, Sugar Creek Mayor Mike Larson said based on the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency guidelines, the city issued a General Order Summons (GOS) to Cosgrove for allowing a fill to remain in a floodplain without proper analysis.
Each summons carries a fine up to $500.
The city has issued Cosgrove six municipal charges for the same problem since 2012. A judge recently dismissed one of the charges from 2012, but the city filed five new charges since September.
Larson said the city attempted to negotiate a solution with Cosgrove over the last four years, but so far, they haven't come to an agreement.
Cosgrove deferred comment to his attorney, Martin Kerr, who says the city's allegations are false. Kerr said Cosgrove hasn't been fined yet and a judge has to approve the order first. A court date has been set for Dec. 10.
In the past, Sugar Creek has maintained the issue was on private property, and therefore, the city couldn’t do anything.
41 Action News has covered this story for several years. Thelma Jordan, who owns Fairmount Liquors in Independence — across the street from the car lot — has bore much of the brunt of the flooding, closing her store down several times.
Jordan says she has lost thousands of dollars from closing down her store, cleaning up the aftermath and losing inventory in the flooding.
Jordan filed a civil suit against the city of Independence, Sugar Creek, the Missouri Department of Transportation and Cosgrove.
Cosgrove now operates his used car lot down the street from its old location. The city of Independence approved a rezoning and special use permit request in August 2018.