Prosecutors have dismissed a criminal charge against Fourth Ward Councilman Ian Thomas, his lawyers said Friday.
Thomas was charged with attempting to commit an act prohibited by a public official after offering to lend his support to a development project if the two developers supported an affordable housing nonprofit. He reported himself to the Missouri Ethics Commission in November 2018.
Thomas maintains that he did not violate the law in his agreement with developers, but acknowledged an “error of judgment” in the discussions, according to a Friday news release from Thomas’ lawyers.
He has agreed to perform 75 community service hours in the next six months.
In October 2018, Thomas asked the would-be developers of Oakland Crossings at Oakland Gravel and Prathersville roads, Justin Barnes and Shannon Sapp, to include affordable housing in their plans, according to previous Missourian reporting.
Because their plans were too far along to do so, Thomas promised to support their request for annexation and zoning if they made a contribution to Columbia Community Land Trust, a local affordable housing group.
Thomas reported the discussions to the Missouri Ethics Commission on Nov. 19, 2018. The agreement between Thomas and the developers was later quashed after city officials warned of its legally problematic nature.
Boone County Presiding Circuit Judge Kevin Crane appointed a special prosecutor, Cole County Prosecutor Locke Thompson, to decide whether to pursue criminal charges in May 2019.