Jennifer Henderson has appealed Boone County 13th Circuit Judge Jodie Asel’s dismissal of a lawsuit challenging a 2015 special sales tax election in the Business Loop Community Improvement District.

Henderson filed her initial petition in January 2016, while a sophomore at MU, alleging the special district’s election was improper because it lacked a secret ballot, a secure ballot box and sufficient 90-day notice.

Residents of the district voted 4-3 in favor of a half-cent sales tax on purchases within the district’s boundaries. The tax is producing more than $300,000 per year in revenue and is intended to finance redevelopment of the Business Loop and other projects.

Asel dismissed the case without prejudice in March 2016, saying she lacked “subject matter jurisdiction” to review the election. However, she never put her decision in writing as a final judgment.

That meant Henderson’s petition was stuck in the legal system. Her case was ongoing, but she couldn’t appeal Asel’s decision because no judgment had been entered.

The Missouri Supreme Court granted a permanent writ of mandamus Feb. 13 ordering Asel to enter her decision as a judgment. Asel filed her judgment Feb. 19.

Henderson’s case will go to the Missouri Court of Appeals Western District.

The appeal is expected to address the questions of whether a Missouri circuit court has subject matter jurisdiction to hear a contest to a community improvement district’s sales tax election and whether it has the authority to order a new election, according to the notice.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

  • Public Life reporter. I am a junior studying investigative reporting. Reach me at, or at (281) 636-8834.

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