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MEC complaint targets Councilwoman Fisk

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Last edited at 1:54 p.m., Nov. 16, 2018

A Missouri Ethics Commission complaint is challenging Springfield City Councilwoman Jan Fisk’s place in the governing body.

Filed Nov. 5, the complaint alleges Fisk is in violation of the city charter’s conflict of interest statutes and seeks her removal from office. The documentation was provided to Springfield Business Journal by the complainant, Linda Simkins, a retired litigation paralegal who previously levied allegations via the MEC against outgoing Greene County Presiding Commissioner Bob Cirtin. Those allegations of misuse of county resources ultimately were cleared by the MEC.

The complaint against Fisk alleges the councilwoman inappropriately received financial benefits from the city in her capacity as co-founder of J. Howard Fisk Limousines Inc. Fisk, who owns the company with her husband Howard, is listed as the company’s secretary in the latest filing with the Missouri secretary of state.

Reached by SBJ, Howard Fisk declined to comment on the allegations until the completion of the investigation. Springfield spokeswoman Cora Scott said Jan Fisk received a copy of the MEC complaint, and she and city officials are conducting a review of the claims.

Fisk, a councilwoman since June 2012 who’s also mayor pro tem, is accused of violating a statute in city charter dubbed “officers and employees interested in contracts.” The statute prohibits council members and city employees from having a “financial interest, direct or indirect, in any contract with the city, or be financially interested, directly or indirectly, in the sale to the city of any land, materials, supplies or services, except on behalf of the city as an officer or employee.”

The complaint alleges that after Fisk was appointed to council in 2012, Fisk Limousines, in violation of city charter on conflicts of interest, submitted the low bids for two contracts later that year and in 2013. The complaint states Fisk Limousines did not directly issue any more bids to the city for contracts after that point.

“It is unknown to the complainant if these contracts were actually rewarded to Fisk Limo or if a financial benefit was realized by Fisk,” the complaint reads. “It is clear however, that after her appointment in June 2012, Fisk Limo was barred from contracting with the city.”

Further, the complaint alleges Fisk Limousines conducted charter bus services for Kansas City-based Executive Limousines after the latter was awarded contracts with the city of Springfield. Executive Limousines’ website lists Fisk Limousines as its “southern Missouri office.” Fisk Limousines’ website lists Executive Limousines as a partner.

The complaint alleges Fisk Limousines’ vehicles were utilized for city services, including for uses by the Springfield-Greene County Park Board and the city-founded Give 5 program that’s now under the purview of United Way of the Ozarks.

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