Franklin County officials are in the process of responding to a open records request regarding the use of county credit cards and cellphones.
The request came from KMOV Channel 4, Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer said.
Griesheimer said the investigative producer with Channel 4 is simply investigating Missouri and Illinois counties and their use of funds.
“I assume it is in regards to the recent findings about the Valley Park mayor and him using his city credit card for all sorts of things he shouldn’t have been,” he said.
Valley Park Mayor Nathan Grellner has been accused of using the city’s credit card to buy about $5,000 worth of items including tools and high-end appliances, according to an investigation by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Grellner also reportedly checked himself into CenterPointe Hospital for methamphetamine abuse.
Griesheimer said the county is complying with the request, made under the state’s Sunshine Law, but won’t have a lot of information to provide.
That’s because most county departments don’t use credit cards, Commissioner Terry Wilson said.
Sheriff Gary Toelke told The Missourian that his office uses credit cards for some official business, and some information in the reports will have to be redacted because they might include sensitive information, such as the location of witnesses in ongoing trials and investigations.
Griesheimer said commissioners don’t bill the county for their cellphones, meaning the phone logs are not public record.
The research is being performed by the county clerk’s office.
Under Sections 610.010, 610.023, 610.024 and 610.026 of the revised statutes of the state of Missouri, records of a public governmental body are open to the public and available for inspection and copying.
Governments are allowed to charge up to 10 cents per page for copies, however, and a “reasonable fee” for time spent researching and copying records.
More exact limitations on those fees are outlined in the statutes.
In Franklin County, the clerk’s office serves as the custodian of records.
Officials with the county sheriff’s department have expressed skepticism as to the true nature of the request for records, however.
Griesheimer said one lieutenant with the department believes the request may be of a vindictive nature, originating from a critic of the current commission.