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Monday, June 25, 2018

St. Louis Lawyer Sues Greitens' Dark-Money Non-Profit, Demanding Records

Posted By on Mon, Jun 25, 2018 at 1:50 PM

Former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens. - DOYLE MURPHY
  • DOYLE MURPHY
  • Former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens.
The Missouri House committee considering impeachment has reluctantly closed up shop. The state attorney general has passed on a substantive investigation.

But now a St. Louis lawyer is hoping to do what neither could, or would — shed light on the operations of former Governor Eric Greitens' dark-money nonprofit, A New Missouri Inc.



Elad Gross, who served as an assistant attorney general from 2014 to 2016, has filed a lawsuit in Cole County Circuit Court, demanding records from the nonprofit that helped elect Greitens governor without ever disclosing its donors.

"The Attorney General's Office is the appropriate office to investigate A New Missouri and other charitable organizations such as these," Gross tells the RFT. "But he's not investigating it, despite multiple requests and inquiries. The law is perfectly clear that despite what he's saying, he should be investigating it." Gross hopes to do what he can as a private citizen.

Earlier today, the House committee investigating the former governor for impeachment formally closed up shop. In a four-page memo, committee chairman Jay Barnes (who is also a Republican representing Jefferson City), lamented that the group no longer had authority to continue probing Greitens' misdeeds. Among other things, he suggested the former governor had an assistant write his best-selling book Resilience, that he engaged in "criminal fraud" in a grant application and its award from Washington University — and said that documents already in the committee's possession show "significant circumstantial and direct evidence of illegal activity" on the Greitens' nonprofit.

"Missourians deserve a full accounting of A New Missouri, Inc.," Barnes wrote, "which I have come to believe was a criminal enterprise from its inception -— designed to illegally skirt donation limits and conceal the identities of major donors to Eric Greitens and ballot initiatives relating to right-to-work that were supported by the former governor."

Gross says he was interested in probing the nonprofit even before it became likely the committee would be closing its inquiry. He began to demand access to its records on June 2.

But now that other avenues to get at the truth of its activity are closing, he's redoubling his efforts. "When the [House] committee dropped its subpoena, that's when I started panicking," he says. "That accelerated everything."

And by everything, he means demanding the records that Missouri law requires nonprofits make available to those who ask for them. Gross' lawsuit details his repeated demands for everything from A New Missouri's meeting minutes to its accounting records — all of which, he says, the nonprofit's board of directors are required to turn over for inspection. To date, he has not received so much as a response.

While Gross intends to push the investigation as far as he can, he knows his inquiry can only go so far. "Unfortunately, I don't think I can get the names of donors," he acknowledges. But he hopes to use what he can to interest the IRS in further investigation. He says he's already been in contact.

By day's end, Gross says he plans to have a website live at nomodarkmoney.org, helping explain the laws governing nonprofits and where he believes they may have been abused by A New Missouri. He encourages those interest in his efforts to sign up for updates.

We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at sarah.fenske@riverfronttimes.com

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