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St. Louis lawyer seeks more information from A New Missouri

St. Louis lawyer seeks more information from A New Missouri

June 5th, 2018 by Bob Watson in Missouri News

Elad Gross, a St. Louis lawyer, wants to know more about the operations and spending record of A New Missouri, the not-for-profit organization created last year to support now-former Gov. Eric Greitens and his initiatives.

So this weekend, Gross sent a three-page letter asking the organization to release a lot of its information, under terms of Missouri's nonprofit laws and the Merchandising Practices Act, which prohibits nonprofits and other corporations from participating in fraudulent activities.

In a Facebook post announcing his letter, Gross explained: "A New Missouri Inc. is the secretive political organization set up by former Gov. Greitens and his team. These types of organizations have been increasingly used to hide political donors and influencers from public disclosure. They are the facilitators of dark money politics."

But, Gross added: "I believe Missourians deserve transparency in their government. I believe we should be able to see who is influencing our elected officials. I believe we need big change in business as usual to clean up our state government."

Catherine Hanaway — a former Missouri House speaker and U.S. Attorney who represents A New Missouri in a case lodged by the state House of Representatives — didn't respond Tuesday to a request for a comment.

In his letter to A New Missouri, Gross noted the state law that allows nonprofit organizations to form "without members" says that "any recipient or beneficiary of the services or activities of such corporation may inspect and copy the books and records of such corporation."

And, he noted, "As a Missourian, I am one of the beneficiaries of A New Missouri Inc."

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Gross listed seven different sets of A New Missouri records he wants to "inspect and copy," including all:

Minutes of all meetings of the board of directors.

Records of all actions taken by the directors without a meeting.

Records of all actions taken by board of directors' committees.

Accounting records.

Corporate bylaws, restated bylaws, and amendments to the bylaws.

Names and business or home addresses of the current directors and officers.

Financial statements of all corporate income and expenses.

Gross told the organization there were "several purposes" for his request, including determining whether A New Missouri had "acted improperly as a nonprofit corporation under Missouri law."

He explained: "A New Missouri Inc. is currently under investigation by at least one state entity for its ties to potentially illegal or unethical conduct involving Missouri government."

Gross also said the information would be used "to determine whether to lodge a complaint against A New Missouri Inc. with the Internal Revenue Service."

He said he was told during a recent call with an IRS agent that "filing an official complaint may be called for, given A New Missouri Inc.'s activities."

Gross noted state law requires the organization to respond to his request "within five business days," or he may seek a court order for the information to be released.

A New Missouri already is in court on a similar request from the House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight, which was formed at the end of February to look at Greitens' legal situation.

The committee issued subpoenas to A New Missouri for information, and it went to court when that information wasn't provided.

Last week, Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem ordered A New Missouri and Greitens' campaign organization, Greitens for Missouri, to produce documents — by last Friday — that the House committee had sought through subpoenas it issued in early May.

But, with Greitens' announcement that he would resign at 5 p.m. last Friday, Hanaway filed a motion asking Beetem to drop the case since Greitens no longer is governor.

The judge and lawyers will meet Thursday afternoon for a hearing on that request.