Mayor Treece suggested two council members should "evaluate" their positions

1 week 17 hours 29 minutes ago Tuesday, October 08 2019 Oct 8, 2019 Tuesday, October 08, 2019 6:13:00 PM CDT October 08, 2019 in News
By: Ethan Stein, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - Columbia council member Ian Thomas confirmed Mayor Brian Treece suggested he resign over what became a criminal matter in September. However, he wasn't the only council member the mayor suggested should resign.

Mayor Brian Treece suggested Fourth Ward Councilman Ian Thomas and Second Ward Councilman Michael Trapp should "evaluate whether they can continue to serve with the trust of their constituents," in an earlier drafted email statement on September 5th, sent to at least three other council members. 

KOMU 8 obtained the emails through a public records request.

Third Ward Council member Karl Skala approved Mayor Treece's drafted statement asking both councilmembers to "evaluate their positions".

Sixth Ward Councilwoman Besty Peters asked Mayor Treece to leave Councilman Michael Trapp out of the statement.

First Ward Councilmen Clyde Ruffin wanted the statement eliminated about Ian Thomas and Michael Trapp because it prematurely condemn the councilmembers.

"I appreciate the simplicity and the neutrality of the statement with the exception of the last two sentences, which seem to condemn Ian and Mike prematurely," said Ruffin. "I would prefer to simply clarify our values and standards as a council and allow the legal procedure to guide our judgment."

The council's final statement sent to media, signed by Mayor Brian Treece and Councilmembers Clyde Ruffin, Karl Skala, Matt Pitzer, Betsey Peters, did not suggest Ian Thomas or Michael Trapp resign. 

The Cole County prosecutor confirmed in September his office filed a criminal charge against Ian Thomas in connection to discussions Thomas had with a developer related to affordable housing.

In his regular email newsletter, Fourth Ward Councilman Ian Thomas said he has learned he will be charged with an attempt to commit an act prohibited by an elected official, a class C misdemeanor.

Thomas said he made an error in judgment, but not at a level he believes merits a criminal charge.

Earlier in the year, investigators started looking into Thomas' actions after he allegedly offered his support for a rezoning request in exchange for a donation to the city.

Thomas said he plans to plead not guilty to the charge and defend himself in court.

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