Monday, July 26, 2010

STAMPER SLAMS STURTZ: Development honcho cries IBM "hypocrisy!"

COLUMBIA, 7/26/10  (Beat Byte) --  In an email he sent last month to a group of "friends" that included some 40 high-ranking past and present public officials, from the three-member Boone County Commission to directors of virtually every Columbia city department, Central Missouri Development Council executive director Don Stamper (left) blasted First Ward Councilman Paul Sturtz for criticizing Columbia's IBM deal after Sturtz and other Council members had earlier approved it.
Calling it a "very funny faux pas," Sturtz said Stamper "sent four frantic email messages" to "recall" his message 10 minutes after sending it.   He was also incredulous that Stamper sent the missive to so many well-known officials. 
Upset over a June 29 Columbia Missourian story that had Sturtz blasting IBM as a chronic manipulator of city governments, Stamper accused the first-term Councilman of "positioning himself against a policy that he voted for."
"He [Sturtz] voted for the issue, but now calls it a 'big farce,'" Stamper wrote in the June 30 email from his ConAggMo business address.   "To call this a big farce is a much different position than voting for the proposal."
In the Missourian story, Sturtz (center right, Missourian photo) also lambasted the insider deals IBM brought to town on the taxpayer dime.  Those deals include a $350,000 flooring contract for Regional Economic Development Inc. (REDI) chairman Dave Griggs; a $10 million construction contract for the Bob Lemone family's Little Dixie Construction; and the $3 million sale of a Lemone-owned building to the city for IBM's local headquarters.
"Am I mistaken, or was this done on his watch?" Stamper exclaimed, adding that Sturtz himself was guilty of avoiding the very scrutiny he now insisted IBM should have received.   Calling Sturtz "a member of the council who fails to return phone calls and will not schedule meetings with constituents," Stamper asked, "Isn’t avoidance of this type a form of avoiding public scrutiny?" 
Also taking aim at former Third Ward Councilman Karl Skala, Stamper told his group, "You got to love these guys.  This was on their watch and now they are being critical.  Have they forgotten how much pressure they brought to the table for the announcement to come before the election?   This is very disingenuous!"
Other members of Stamper's e-friends list who received the emailed critique include MU curator Bo Frazier; former Columbia City Council members Almeta Crayton, Bob Hutton, Chris Janku, and Darwin Hindman;  Boone County Sheriff Dwayne Carey;  Boone County Circuit Court Judge Kevin Crane; Boone County Assessor Tom Schauwecker; 5th Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser; Boone County Clerk Wendy Noren; and City of Columbia finance director Lori Fleming.
"If nothing else, it shows the strategy Stamper would have used to attack me in a re-election bid," Sturtz concluded. 
IBM deal filled with questions, secrecy
Untangling the IBM web:  Players in deal have many links.
Central Missouri Development Council

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