Paul Love, who lost a bid to unseat Second Ward Councilman Mike Trapp in last week's municipal election, said Friday that he will file a complaint with the Missouri Ethics Commission accusing Trapp of a conflict of interest.

Love said in an email that he would mail the complaint Monday after having it notarized this weekend.

Love, in a draft of the complaint, criticizes Trapp's votes to approve tax increment financing for a second tower at The Broadway hotel and to give public money to Welcome Home, Inc., a local nonprofit that provides services to homeless veterans. 

Trapp's business, AAAAChange, has a contract with the downtown Community Improvement District to provide homeless outreach services. David Parmley, the owner of The Broadway, sits on the district board. Trapp also has a contract to do work with Welcome Home.

Love believes Trapp's vote on funding for Parmley's hotel posed a conflict of interest. He brought his complaint to the City Council during a Feb. 5 meeting and asked for Trapp's resignation. He said on multiple occasions during his campaign that he would file a complaint with the Missouri Ethics Commission as soon as the election ended, according to previous Missourian reporting

In his complaint, Love restated his criticism of Trapp's vote on tax increment financing for The Broadway.

"It is to me an unseemly reciprocal oversight agreement benefiting both parties using public money...," Love said. "As a taxpayer I believe this to be inappropriate."

Love also said in the complaint that Trapp talked to an attorney before he contracted with the downtown district, indicating he knew it might be a conflict.

During his campaign, Trapp said on several occasions that there was nothing wrong with his vote in favor of the hotel financing. He said he earned the contract with the Downtown Community Improvement District through a competitive bidding process and that he had abstained from votes concerning the district in 2017, according to previous Missourian reporting.

Love said in his draft complaint that he also believes Trapp's contract with Welcome Home is unethical.

Trapp voted in February 2016 to approve the use of $248,000 in Community Development Block Grant money and $500,000 in city savings from fiscal 2014 to help Welcome Home build a new facility. Love said in the complaint that Trapp received his contract with Welcome Home without going through a competitive bidding process "shortly after" he voted on the issue.

Trapp said during a Friday interview that he received the contract in June 2016, four months after his vote. He's contracted with the organization to conduct staff training and evaluations, to write policies and to oversee "quality improvement operations" as the organization pursued national certification from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, he said.

The contract pays Trapp $40 per hour, and the monthly pay rate is capped at $1,600, he said. 

Trapp said he believes contracting with a nonprofit organization as a public official doesn't trigger a requirement for a competitive bidding process.

State law says public officials are forbidden to "perform any service for the political subdivision or any agency of the political subdivision for any consideration in excess of five hundred dollars per transaction or five thousand dollars per annum...unless the transaction is made pursuant to an award on a contract let after public notice and competitive bidding, provided that the bid or offer accepted is the lowest received."

Columbia Missourian reporter Dylan Sherman contributed to this report.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

  • Second-year graduate student studying investigative journalism. State government reporter for the Missourian and writing for PolitiFact Missouri. Reach her at yy755@mail.missouri.edu. or follow her on twitter @StellaYu_Mizzou

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