Dems Demand Explanation from Peter Kinder

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The Lt. Gov is allegedly so bad, Werner Herzog should make a movie about him!
The Lt. Gov is allegedly so bad, Werner Herzog should make a movie about him!
Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder still hasn't gotten back to us with any sort of denial, rebuttal or explanation for the allegations coming from ex-stripper Tammy Chapman, who told Daily RFT that the Republican offered to move her into his campaign-financed condo and creeped her out by being overly aggressive with her in her days as an "entertainer."

And now it's not just the Riverfront Times wanting to know what's up with Kinder. The Missouri Democratic Party is jumping on Chapman's story.

In a press release issued this morning, the party "is calling on Lt. Governor Kinder to provide a complete, honest explanation to the people of Missouri."

Kinder, a Tea Party favorite, was widely believed to be mounting a challenge to Governor Jay Nixon in next year's race. Yet there's been no on-the-record explanation or statement from the Kinder campaign on the matter -- he hasn't been talking to anyone. (Yesterday, his campaign declined repeated requests from the Kansas City Star, the newspaper reports.) We hear through the media grapevine that his people are saying he intends to sue us. Which, frankly, seems a little odd to us: You'd think he'd at least issue a denial first. We've been waiting by the phone for more than 48 hours.

And while other media outlets initially seemed cowed by those threats -- who wants to deal with a lawsuit in this economy? -- they seem to be coming around. Yesterday, KMOX (1120 AM) aired a lengthy interview with Chapman, in which she apparently told reporter Kevin Killeen the same story she told us.

In the comment section of our story, and in a whisper campaign that has even reached the Delmar Loop, we're hearing that Kinder's people say this whole thing was hit job, carefully orchestrated by his Democratic enemies.

But from our vantage point, at least, that seems to defy explanation. After all, the whole sordid tale began unfolding last Thursday, when we jokingly published a photo of Kinder "pressing the flesh" at a St. Louis bar. We (honestly!) had no idea that the bar, Verlin's, was known for its "pantsless parties," in which bartenders sling drinks in their panties. Or that he was posing with a former "Penthouse pet of the month" -- or that the "pet," now a 39-year-old, openly gay bartender, would be interested in sharing her story when we tracked her down. We just thought the picture was moderately amusing.

Really, the only reason any of this came to light is because RFT readers are such barflies, they almost immediately recognized the bar -- and the bartender. The GOP may want to claim this was an organized effort, but it looks a whole lot more like that new-fangled "crowd sourcing" thing to us.

In the mean time, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is one of the few local outlets not touching the story. It's now been covered by the Kansas City Star, the St. Louis Beacon and St. Louis Public Radio, the local NPR affiliate.

UPDATE: A few hours after the Democratic Party issued its press release, Kinder did finally make a response (kind of). You can read all about that here.

About The Author

Sarah Fenske

Sarah Fenske is the executive editor of Euclid Media Group, overseeing publications in eight cities. She is the former host of St. Louis on the Air and was previously editor-in-chief of the RFT and the LA Weekly. She lives in St. Louis.
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