At the October 16, 2017 City Council meeting, an ordinance will be presented to name three new members to the Hope Valley Community Improvement District (CID) Board; Brandon Davis, Charles Genisio, and Brian Christmas. These local individuals will take the place of three board members whose terms have expired. The City believes it is important not to delay the appointment of these three individuals to the CID, and because of this, feels it is necessary to provide an update on the Hope Valley CID.
In August, the City of Joplin became aware of some questionable transactions in the Hope Valley CID bank account and asked the Missouri Highway Patrol to investigate the bank accounts for any improper activity or missing money. The MSHP is still conducting their investigation.
The City has undertaken its own investigation into the Hope Valley CID bank account and believes that there is a substantial amount of money that is unaccounted for, approximately $170,000. The City is aware that Darrell Gross, who was authorized to receive the tax revenue generated by the CID from the Missouri Department of Revenue and on the Hope Valley CID bank account, was charged with three felony counts of Receiving Stolen Property in Newton County Associate Circuit Court, that generally alleges that he forged a document and stole $12,633.49 from the Big Springs Plaza (Neosho) CID bank accounts. On September 1, 2017, Darrell Gross resigned from his role with the Hope Valley CID. The Hope Valley CID bank account, (which is now closed), lists Darrell Gross’ address on the account statement, and the monthly statements show regular withdrawals, transfers, and checks being written. None of the current CID board members, including the Hope Valley Developer Kevin Steele, authorized any of these transactions.
The City has taken steps to redirect the tax revenue to ensure that it is protected, and looks forward to the MSHP completing its investigation to provide more clarity on the whereabouts of the unaccounted-for money.
Note: A Community Improvement District is an association of property owners in a defined area that voluntarily tax themselves in order to fund improvements within the district's boundaries. The Hope Valley CID is its own political subdivision and petitioned the City of Joplin in 2015 to form the CID and assess a 1% sales tax on the businesses within the taxing district. The CID Board is responsible for governing its own affairs and appoints legal representatives of the property owners in the CID to serve as board members. The Board is responsible to collect the tax revenue from the State of Missouri and then use that money in accordance with the Cooperative Agreement with the City of Joplin; namely, to use the money for infrastructure and other improvements that are provided for in the Cooperative Agreement. The City must approve all of the expenses for which the CID seeks reimbursement. Since no development has occurred, no expenses have been submitted to the City.