South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Grantwood Village trustee calls for Larson to resign from village board

Attorney says no evidence of any violations by Larson

Grantwood Village Trustee Will Larson last week was asked to resign for the second time since being elected last April.

Treasurer Kevin Kelso requested Larson’s resignation at the Feb. 19 meeting of the Board of Trustees, alleging Larson “has violated numerous city ordinances.”

“Where’s the transparency? Where’s the fiscal responsibility that he ran on this for?” Kelso asked. “… Mr. Larson should resign out of respect just for the board and out of respect to these villagers out here.”

Building Commissioner Bob Bess called for Larson and Public Works Commissioner Walter Rust to resign in October.

Kelso alleged Larson violated a postal law, an ordinance “of when to open filing” for the April election and did not respond to a Sunshine Law complaint, among other violations.

“He has no response to emails and phone calls. By his own admission a week to answer even one phone call …,” Kelso said. “Has he done any work on the grants he’s supposed to be doing? No.”

When questioned by Chairman Mark Kienstra, Larson said he looked into two grant opportunities for streets “but nothing of any fruition.”

Larson told the Call Kelso’s comments are “baseless.”

“There’s a very, very clear division of three versus two on the board right now,” Larson said, “and the three have been, what seems to me, very unwilling to work together … I would say as a trustee I’m doing the best that I can, and I’m having to learn a lot because I’m not really getting a lot of support from people who have been on the board.”

Larson also said Kelso’s comment regarding ordinance violations is “just not true.”

“It’s not true, and I’d say that the current state of the board is unfortunately not communicating and not working, not working as a (board) of five,” he said. “And it’s unfortunate because it makes the whole village look bad.”

During the meeting, Kelso asked Village Attorney Rich Magee if he needs board approval to talk to “our prosecutor about these ordinance violations of Mr. Larson.”

Though Kelso does not need board approval to speak to a prosecutor, Magee said he does not see that Larson “has violated any ordinances.”

“I don’t think that any board member acting in their board capacity, whether they be correct or incorrect — and I don’t think any board member is correct or incorrect 100 percent of the time — I don’t think they rise to the level of an ordinance violation, but you’re free to check with him just as any board member is free to contact me,” Magee said.

Kelso also questioned why auto decals, which identify that vehicles belong to village residents, have not yet been delivered. Larson has had the majority of the decals since November. By residents not having the decals, Kelso said that puts them in violation of village ordinances.

Larson said the plan had always been to send the decals, of which there are 96, with the village newsletter, which is expected to be delivered in March.

Larson said he believes he has “been thrown under the bus” with regard to his time on the board.

“It’s unappreciated, really. I think people just need to understand the facts and not worry about what (Kevin Kelso) says or what I say,” Larson said.

Editor’s note: Village Attorney Rich Magee on Thursday clarified the comments he made at the board meeting. “… The point that I was trying to make was that there is no penalty for not performing your (trustee) duties. There’s no penalty provision such as a fine or imprisonment or anything of that nature,” he told the Call.

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