Travel, financial records reveal new details in Jackson County Sheriff's resignation

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Less than a week ago, 41 Action News was the first to uncover former Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp's plans to step down.

The resignation coincided with new details about Sharp's relationship with his employee, Christine Lynde, as well as questions about his use of tax dollars.

Through a request with the Jackson County Sheriff's Office, 41 Action News obtained 800 pages of travel and financial records for Sharp and Lynde.

Although the records reveal the two never officially went on trips together, the dates of some trips coincide with travel Sharp referenced in an April 4 deposition.

For example, Sharp admitted to traveling with Lynde to New Orleans in September 2017. According to Lynde's travel records, she attended a crime analysts' conference there from Sept. 10-18. The total cost of the trip, which documents show was paid for by the county, came out to roughly $2,000. 

The trip raised eyebrows in the sheriff's office. In an email to Lynde, one staffer wanted to know why the county was paying for a rental car for her when she was staying at the hotel where the conference was being held.

In response, Lynde wrote "I should not be expected, nor has anyone ever had to be bound to the facility where training takes place. I need transportation to and from airport and to and from any networking events in the evenings. There should be no question as my chain of command the Appointing Authority has approved."

Lynde also visited Phoenix three times in 2017. In his deposition, Sharp said he accompanied her on a trip there for her High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program training. At least one of her trips was paid for with county dollars, but Sharp affirms he purchased his own ticket. 

As more details about Sharp's actions come to light, the county legislature held its first meeting. When pushed for his opinion about potential misuse of tax dollars, Jackson County Legislature Vice Chairman Alfred Jordan declined to comment on ongoing litigation. 

Similarly, Marshanna Hester, a spokesperson for Jackson County Executive Frank White, declined further comment. On the topic of tax dollars, Hester said proper use is extremely important to White, which is why he asked Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway to conduct an audit. 

On Monday, White gave an update to the legislature on the search for Sharp's replacement. The application is live online and open until April 30. After that, the Mid-America Regional Council will help a selection committee identify finalists, who will be publicly interviewed on May 4. 

"The committee will recommend 2 to 3 candidates for me to make the final selection," White explained.

An election will then be held in November, but the county, election boards and the secretary of state's office are still figuring out the logistics.

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