Attorney General’s Office Asks Highway Patrol To Investigate License Collector

I have received a copy of the letter from Missouri Attorney General’s Office to Missouri Highway Patrol, the AG’s investigator, regarding the Political Corruption complaints against License Collector Mavis Thompson. Also enclosed were copies of other complaints on the same matter.

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The investigation is an important step toward holding License Collector Mavis Thompson accountable.  These types of complaints usually are dismissed within a few weeks.

Each of us filing the Political Corruption complaints had previously received a letter from the Attorney General’s Office regarding the intent to forward the complaint to the Highway Patrol.

My complaint was filed August 3rd. I cited two laws broken. One on release of protected information and the other an Ethics violation, using public office for personal gain.

I recently blogged on how this could end with a Republican License Collector appointed by the Governor and serving for four years because there is no Special Election for License Collector when there is a vacancy.

License Collector timeline: history of election, appointment, removal/vacancy from 1950-Present.

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman

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License Collector History Since Juggy Hayden

Truth1950: 3rd Ward Committeeman Joseph T. “Juggy” Hayden (White Democrat) elected License Collector.

1954: License Collector Juggy Hayden re-elected despite his first of many bad audits and newspaper exposes.

1958: License Collector Juggy Hayden re-elected despite being the first city office to, apparently, Ban the Box. A Grand Jury report noted 10 License Collector employees had criminal records ranging from liquor license violations to embezzlement.

1962: License Collector Juggy Hayden re-elected.

1964: 8 License Collector employees convicted of forging auto sticker applications.

1966: License Collector Juggy Hayden re-elected to most people’s surprise, including Hayden’s. His own staff worked on the campaigns of his opponents. He walked to bridge to commit suicide on Election Night. A devout Catholic, he stopped himself, went home and to bed early, woke up to banging on his door. He had won.

1969: License Collector Juggy Hayden dies.

1969: Governor Warren Hearnes (White Democrat) appoints 21st Ward Committeeman Benjamin Goins (Black Democrat) to fill License Collector vacancy. Goins had run for Sheriff in 1968 and lost.

1970: License Collector Benjamin Goins elected to full term.

1974: License Collector Benjamin Goins re-elected.

1977: License Collector Benjamin Goins wins a Special Election for Sheriff and resigns as License Collector. Sheriff Raymond Percich (White Democrat) elected Comptroller resigns as Sheriff.

1978: Sheriff Benjamin Goins convicted of corruption, lying to a grand jury, and income tax evasion while as License Collector, and removed as Sheriff by quo warranto petition.

1978: 20th Ward Alderman Lawrence Woodson (Black Democrat) appointed License Collector by Governor Joseph Teasdale (White Democrat).

1978: License Collector Lawrence Woodson elected to full term.

1982: 82nd District State Representative Billie Boykins (Black Democrat) elected License Collector.

1982: License Collector Lawrence Woodson, who did not seek re-election, dies at the end of his term.

1986: License Collector Billie Boykins re-elected.

1989: License Collector Billie Boykins removed from office by quo warranto petition for willful violation and neglect of duty following a State Audit showing millions of dollars not collected for the City.

1989: John C. Palazzolo (White Republican) appointed License Collector by Governor John Ashcroft (White Republican).

1990: License Collector John C. Palazzolo resigns to seek treatment for cancer less than four months after appointment.

1990: Steven Doss (White Republican) is appointed License Collector by Governor John Ashcroft. Doss had earlier filed to run against 3rd District Congressman Richard Gephardt (White Democrat), then Majority Leader.

1990: License Collector Steven Doss defeated in election for full term by Tom Nash (White Democrat).

1994: License Collector Tom Nash re-elected.

1997: License Collector Tom Nash resigns

1998: Gregory F.X. Daly (White Democrat), aide to Board President Francis Slay (White Democrat), appointed License Collector by Governor Mel Carnahan (White Democrat).

1998: License Collector Gregory F.X. Daly elected to full term.

2002: License Collector Gregory F.X. Daly re-elected.

2006: 19th Ward Alderman Michael McMillan (Black Democrat) elected License Collector. License Collector Gregory F.X. Daly elected Collector of Revenue.

2010: License Collector Michael McMillan re-elected.

2013: License Collector Michael McMillan resigns to become President of Urban League.

2013: Former Circuit Clerk Mavis Thompson (Black Democrat) appointed License Collector by Governor Jay Nixon (White Democrat).

2014: License Collector Mavis Thompson elected to full term.

2018: License Collector Mavis Thompson wins Democratic Primary. Office of Attorney General (and U.S. Senate Candidate) Josh Hawley (White Republican) announces Complaint against Thompson regarding release of protected information for personal gain will be investigated by Missouri Highway Patrol.

Are You Ready For 4 Years With A Republican License Collector?

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August 3rd, I submitted a Complaint to the Missouri Attorney General against License Collector Mavis Thompson for releasing protected information for personal gain.

Nearly a month later, the Attorney General’s Office informs me that the Complaint is being sent to the Missouri Highway Patrol for investigation.

That’s significant because most Complaints receive a dismissal letter within a few weeks of filing.

This Complaint has legs. I know other similar Complaints have also been filed against Thompson. Blame me all you want, but the issues were going to get investigated. I was just the first, apparently, to the get things moving.

Mavis Thompson is the Democratic Party Nominee for License Collector. There is a Republican Candidate on the ballot. His name is Zachary M. Syberg. He has not filed a committee with Missouri Ethics Commission and did not reply to the League of Women Voters Survey.

The time to withdraw from the November 6th ballot is past. The time to file a petition as an Independent Candidate is past. If Thompson resigned today, she would still be on the ballot and she would win re-election. It’s safe to say that barring a unified Write-In Campaign, Mavis Thompson will be re-elected.

That should concern you because if  the Highway Patrol investigation finds criminal wrongdoing on the part of Thompson, the Attorney General then prosecutes. I say Attorney General because I really think the City’s Circuit Attorney would punt on this.

Charges would be filed. In the end, I think the Attorney General initiates Thompson’s removal by a Quo Warranto proceeding with the Supreme Court. If Thompson’s benefits are at risk, she would likely resign before the Court acted to remove her. Either way, there would be a new License Collector.

Under Missouri law, when a vacancy occurs in the License Collector position, the Governor appoints a replacement for the remainder of the term. There is no Special Election. There is no nominee chosen by political party Central Committees.

The current Governor being a Republican, the replacement will likely be a Republican. The replacement might also be someone who thinks the License Collector Office should be controlled by the Mayor. The replacement might be someone who would be an ally to Rex Sinquefield. In any case, the replacement will not be someone chosen by voters but instead chosen by a Governor no one elected Governor.

I do not see a way out of this other than A) convincing Thompson to announce she is no longer running despite being on the ballot and B) the Democratic Party launching a campaign to elect a Write-In Candidate.

The Deadline for Write-In Candidates is 5 pm Friday, October 26th. Here is the Declaration of Intent that would need to be filed with the Board of Election.

I think Dana Kelly certainly has the name recognition and organization potential to win a Write-In Campaign. Unfortunately, she is prohibited by law for running as a Write-In in an election she sought the Primary Election nomination.

My intent here is to warn everyone of the coming storm, not advance a particular candidate.

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman

Highway Patrol Investigating License Collector Mavis Thompson

The Missouri Attorney General’s Office has responded to my Complaint against License Collector Mavis Thompson– release of Dana Kelly-Franks’ protected information for personal gain- and is forwarding the Complaint to the Missouri Highway Patrol for investigation.

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Complaint Filed With AG On License Collector Mavis Thompson

confirmI made the following online complaint on License Collector to Missouri Attorney Josh Hawley.

The I have used links in this post. The actual complaint has addresses following sentences.

I am writing in the matter of the breach of security, release of personal information, and violation of an ethics law by St. Louis City License Collector Mavis Thompson and requesting your investigation and prosecution.

License Collector Mavis Thompson is an agent of the State of Missouri for purposes of the State’s Merchants & Manufacturers Tax. As an agent of the State, she is subject to the provision of Section 150.090 RSMo prohibiting the release of Social Security Numbers.

License Collector Mavis Thompson released the Social Security Number of an election opponent, Dana Kelly-Franks, to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial Board in violation of Section 150.090.

7/31/2018 St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial: Democrats should reject both candidates for St. Louis license collector

7/31/2018 Dana Kelly-Franks statement on the breach of security via Facebook

7/31/2018 Dana Kelly-Franks interview by KMOV-TV: St. Louis official accused of leaking sensitive information about election opponent

Further, Licenses Collector Mavis Thompson released the Social Security Number and other personal identification documents of election opponent Dana Kelly-Franks for personal gain, seeking the endorsement of the St. Louis-Post Dispatch toward re-election and continuance of salary and benefits of public office, in violation of Section 105.452 RSMo.

Marie Ceselski
1911 S 11th Apt C
Saint Louis MO 63104
314-630-7599

Protect Your SSN, Elect Dana Kelly-Franks & Sharon Quigley Carpenter

Carpenter2danaProtecting Social Security Numbers and other important identifying information is a big deal at the State and County level. There are laws, rules, policies in place to prevent their release. Or so I thought.

That there are either no such provisions to protect Social Security Numbers and other personal information on records at the License Collector’s Office or License Collector Mavis Thompson does not abide by them are equally alarming.

Actions have consequences. Or at least they should. But the Post-Dispatch Editorial Board failed to acknowledge the victim’s side of the Mavis Thompson Security Breach story. It failed to look into the ethic’s violation of Mavis Thompson using her office for personal gain. It failed to call for Mavis Thompson’s resignation. Instead, the Editorial Board chose to use the appalling action by Mavis Thompson as an opportunity to continue its generic and unproductive hating on county elected offices and Black women in particular.

In addition to streamlining the business license process and beginning the conversation (conversation, can we at least have the conversation) on consolidating License Collector functions with the Collector of Revenue, I trust Dana Kelly-Franks to follow the law on security of personal information while increasing transparency on public information.

If necessary, I know Dana Kelly-Franks will lobby the Missouri General Assembly and/or Board of Aldermen for any changes needed in laws affecting the License Collector. She is fierce and will not take no for an answer.

I know some things about public records v. closed records and redaction of sensitive information from public records because I work at the Recorder of Deeds Office. I do not represent the office or the elected Recorder here. I have not discussed writing this post with anyone at the office.

I was a whistle blower in the 2014 Recorder of Deeds saga, survived the return of the Recorder that I helped cause to resign and be audited, and I am here to say that I am very pleased with changes and progress made. It’s been a long, strange journey. If I honestly did not think Sharon Quigley Carpenter was the best candidate, I would say so, and loudly.

The challenger, Michael Butler, however, gives me great concern, particularly regarding sensitive personal information and changes he wants that will reduce revenue to St. Louis City.

Michael Butler’s website states, “Currently, citizens are unable to access their birth certificates, death certificates, and marriage licenses online through the Recorder’s office. Michael will allow citizens to apply, purchase and receive these vital records online within 12-24 months.”

First of all, Marriage Licenses are not Vital Records in Missouri. Marriage records are public records in Missouri and open to everyone. We heard this same mistake from proponents of 2017 Prop A.

 St. Louis City-issued Marriage License Indexing is already searchable online and copies may be purchased online. Grass Is Always Greener St. Louis County does not provide online search of its marriage index but does use the same online purchase service as City Recorder.

Michael Butler’s claim that you have to go to the Recorder’s Offices for services is false. With the lone exception of applying for a Marriage License in person, which is a requirement of state law, every service is available by mail and many services are available online.

City-issued marriage records are not downloadable because they contain Social Security Numbers and, as of the end of August, will include copies of Driver’s Licenses.

Michael Butler would make that personal information public. Here’s how. Marriage Licenses, their Applications, and attachments such as Parental Consent forms and Affidavits, are public records. There is no Vital Records requirement for family relationship to purchase a copy. Since current Missouri law allows anyone to purchase a marriage record, allowing anyone to download marriage records means no redaction of Social Security Numbers or the attached scanned images of Driver’s Licenses.

If State Rep. Michael Butler had wanted to make public marriage records closed records, like Vital Records, he would need to convince the Missouri General Assembly to change current law.

In 2015, the Missouri State Archives released older Death Certificates online and free to the general public. It is of great service to genealogists but came at a price to counties, reduced copy fee revenue. Unfortunately, it was also done without redacting Social Security Numbers.

Before that, the Missouri General Assembly turned over every county’s cash cow- chattel mortgages, Uniform Commercial Code filings, to the Secretary of State. The SOS made a spectacular roll out of the online filing system and public database. And then it was abruptly shut down when someone bothered to ask if thousands of Social Security Numbers being made public was legal, let alone a good idea.

I remember when the Illinois State Archives gloriously went live with its online statewide marriage database and it imploded from the traffic within hours.

And the list of great publicity events regarding government records followed by an “oops” goes on and on.

Michael Butler would have a decent, though possibly overwhelming, grasp of what the City Recorder’s Office does and does not do and the how, why and why not of it all, the physical and environmental issues, the money, the staffing (the place is the most cross-trained office in City government), and more, if he had taken a day and spent it at the Recorder’s Office. The offer was made. He never showed up.

If he had taken the tour and picked brains, he would know that the State will only allow online access to Birth and Death Certificates via VitalChek. The City Recorder in her role as City Vital Records Register doesn’t use VitalChek because it costs customers more, takes much longer, and would mean a loss of $1 Million in revenue to the City. How is that possible? Because the default location for service is the State. A customer would have to click on St. Louis City from the menu, probably at the end of the list, in order for the service and money to stay in the City. The State would love to get that $1 Million and we cannot afford to lose it.
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Recorder of Deeds Sharon Quigley Carpenter has decades of experience in preserving public records, providing public access, and protecting personal information- Social Security Numbers and Driver’s License copies relating to marriage records, Military Discharges recorded in the office, Birth and Death records, and more.

I want Sharon Quigley Carpenter to have one more term as Recorder. I believe she has provided residents, businesses, and taxpayers with excellent customer services and great progress is being made on records preservation and public access. I want her to have the opportunity to secure Passport Services at City Hall and expand the high school internship program.

Most importantly, I trust Sharon Quigley Carpenter to protect my Social Security Number on a record in her office. 

I also want to give the Recorder’s Office under Sharon Quigley Carpenter and License Collector’s Office under Dana Kelly-Franks an opportunity to work together. The Recorder’s experience on records security might help Dana right the wrongs at License Collector. And I know Dana has an interest in some technology independence from the City via a technology fund similar to what all County Recorders have in Missouri.  I realize the two are not on the same political team at the moment but I really do foresee a positive relationship.

For License Collector, Elect Dana Kelly-Franks
For Recorder of Deeds, Re-Elect Sharon Quigley Carpenter

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman

 

Who Do You Ride With? Democratic Candidates & Their Donors

followthemoneyRight-Leaning, Bad Ideas, Failed Administrations, and Legal Money Laundering Donors as of 7/26/2018

1st Congressional District
$7700 to Lacy Clay from Michael Kelley $2700; Paul Joseph McKee III $2000; McEagle-OFallon $1500; Christopher McKee $1000; Northside Regeneration $500
$0 to Cori Bush

St. Louis City Collector of Revenue
$6250 to Gregory F.X. Daly from Regional Progress PAC $5000; SLPOA $250; Francis Slay $250; Lyda Krewson $250; Nancy Rice $250; Northside Regeneration $250

St. Louis City License Collector
$481.05 to Mavis Thompson from Jeff Rainford $481.05
$0 to Dana Kelly-Franks

St. Louis City Recorder of Deeds
$3150 to Michael Butler from Claude Brown $1000; Jeff Rainford $500; Show Me Victories $500; Vince Schoemehl $500; Regional Strategies $300; SLPOA $250; Ed Rhode $100. (Note: Also, Butler’s Treasurer recently filed a new PAC- Progressive Pipeline PAC.)
$0 to Sharon Quigley Carpenter

4th District Senate
$650 to Jake Hummel from Regional Strategies $500; Francis Slay $150
$0 to Karla May (Note: no July Report as of 7/26/2018)

66th District House
$0 to Khalil Abdul Mumin
$0 Tommy Pierson Jr

76th District House
$0 to Marissa Brown
$0 to Chris Carter
$0 to Damon Haymer
$0 to Cydney Johnson (Note: reporting Limited Activity 2017-2018)

77th District House
$250 to Steve Roberts from SLPOA $250
$0 to Kimberly-Ann Collins

78th District House
$0 to Bruce Franks Jr.

79th District House
$2850 to J.P. Johnson from Jeff Rainford $1500; Francis Slay $250; Mary Ellen Ponder $250; Atlas Strategy Group/Gregg Keller $250; Nancy Rice $100; David Leipholtz $100; Eddie Roth $100; Patrick Lynn $100; Scott Faughn $100; Ed Rhode $50; Nick Pistor $50
$0 to LaKeySha Bosley
$0 to Reign Harris
$0 to Maxine Johnson

80th District House
$600 to Peter Merideth from Regional Progress PAC $500; SLPOA $100
$0 to Mariah Vandiver

81st District House
$500 to Steve Butz from SLPOA $500
$0 to Travis Estes

82nd District House
$1800 to Donna Baringer from Regional Progress PAC $500; SLPOA $300; Regional Strategies $300; Lyda Krewson $250; Jeff Rainford $250; Mary Ellen Ponder $200
$0 to Fred Kratky (Note: started campaign with $44,186.72 from previous account)

83rd District House
$0 to Gina Mitten

84th District House
$1750 to Brad Bakker from George Herbert Walker Bush $1000; Jeff Rainford $500; Nancy Rice $250
$0 to Wiley Price IV

91st District House
$0 to Sara Unsicker

93rd District House
$250 to Bob Burns from SLPOA $250