Cooper County Circuit Judge Roberl L. Koffman declared that the statutes cited by Eldon Bugg did not apply to the city, and as such, Thacher acted properly by casting the vote. Both sides had submitted motions for summary judgment, where a party asks the court to rule without going to trial, because, they claim, the other side doesn’t have a defense.


Mayor Julie Thacher had the right to vote to approve a low income housing project, a Cooper County Court ruled Monday in a partial judgment on a lawsuit against the city of Boonville.

Cooper County Circuit Judge Roberl L. Koffman declared that the statutes cited by Eldon Bugg did not apply to the city, and as such, Thacher acted properly by casting the vote. Both sides had submitted motions for summary judgment, where a party asks the court to rule without going to trial, because, they claim, the other side doesn’t have a defense.

A hearing on the case is scheduled for May 6 in the Cooper County Circuit Court.

Bugg, a Boonville resident, filed the lawsuit in November after Thacher broke a City Council deadlock with her vote to approve Kemper Village Homes.

He argues that Missouri law prohibits Thacher from making such a vote.

“The people through their legislature have decided that the procedure for breaking tie votes in third class cities is with the Mayor,” the judgment states. “The statutory procedure for cities of a different class, while interesting and thought provoking, are irrelevant to the ultimate issue in this case.”

Bugg also argued that a vote cast in favor of the project by then-Third Ward Councilman Chris Hombs was void, because he hadn’t filed a written record of his withdrawal from a bidding process.

Here again, the court ruled in the city official’s favor.

“Plantiff has not made proof of a conflict of interest. He would have the Court believe that (Hombs) was obligated to file a report that he had no interest when the statutes require him to only file a report when he has an interest. The requirement would be absurd,” the judgment states.

In the lawsuit, Bugg asks the court to prevent any further action from the city on the development, but the court hearings have not slowed progress; ND Consulting Group started construction, and earlier this week, the wooden frames of two houses were visible from the road.

Other opponents of the project, namely the 502 Group, had also questioned which form of government applied to the city of Boonville. Some residents wanted the city to adopt an initiative referendum process, a procedure which officials said the city had no authority to.

“There are no surprises in there,” Thacher said of the judgment. “We felt confident that what we were doing is correct and the judge upheld that we are a Chapter 77 city and always have been.”
Bugg declined to comment.

He also filed a lawsuit in 2005 against the city over the legality of an annexation made for a Walmart Supercenter. Boonville citizens approved the annexation on a 2 to 1 vote, but Bugg argued that the city had neglected required steps for the annexation. The judge ruled in the city’s favor.