Rock Ambulance Chief Tries to Push Her Candidates to Victory

27 Oct

In my first post about departed Rock Ambulance chief Margie Sammons, I wrote about how she tried to get rid of a board member who questioned her. Today, I will write about her efforts to support Paul Horn and Charles Groeteke in their failed 2016 race to win seats on the Rock Ambulance board of directors.

Again, I will start with the Leader‘s glossed over mention in passing of Sammons’ incriminating text messages, which were acquired by a reporter via the Sunshine Law:

Other text messages supported former board members Charles Groeteke and Paul Horn, who ran unsuccessfully for election to the board in April.

There were six candidates running for two seats back in April. Groeteke and Frank Kutilek were the incumbents, Horn was a former board member, Christy Gay and Lynne Ruzicka were what I would call the pro-union candidates, and Avery Fortenberry was a guy who unsuccessfully runs for a lot of positions.

There was also a 100% hike in the district’s property tax on the ballot. This proposition failed bigly, garnering only 40% of the vote.

Apparently, Kutilek had lost favor with Sammons, who supported Horn instead, as she indicated in one text message. As before, right click on any image and select “view image” to see a larger version. Sammons’ messages are on the right in black bubbles. These images were turned over by the district in rather poor quality.

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The image at the top is of a ballot, filled out as Sammons suggests beneath it. And she also called for divine assistance:

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Here, she confirms her dislike of Kutliek, who I am told had begun to question the way things were being run at Rock:

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It seemed like Sammons was more interested in seeing Horn win than even he was. Several times she is seen hectoring him to get out there and campaign. Here she is giving him names to contact for sign locations:

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And again:

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And here she is with more sign advice for Horn, suggesting he work with board chairman Steve Ott:

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Here, Sammons tells Horn he can “pick up cards.” What kind of cards are these? They could have something to do with the tax hike, or they could be intended to help Horn himself? Why do they need to be kept confidential? And who paid for these cards? The taxpayers?

On a campaign finance note, Horn did not file reports with the county or with the Missouri ethics commission, which means he cannot have spent over $1,000 in total. We know he bought signs, an ad in the Rock fishwrap newspaper, and apparently also an ad in the Leader. I’m not sure how he did all that for under $1,000, though I guess it is perhaps possible.

Here’s an exchange between Sammons and her other preferred candidate, Groeteke, who is now running for county council district 4:

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So helpful. She is clearly coordinating these efforts from her taxpayer-funded phone and iPad. And some of these exchanges take place during business hours. It seems Sammons is quite likely crossing the line into actively aiding the campaigns of her preferred candidates in an inappropriate manner.

Other messages show her complimenting her candidates’ newspaper ads and obsessing over whether or not the union candidates placed ads. There was a bit of last minute panic, as well, as Sammons worried about the whereabouts of a campaign letter supporting Groeteke and Horn, apparently written by the daughter of recently-resigned board member Don Wieland (and the sister of Senator Paul Wieland). As election day approached, it had not hit voters’ mailboxes:

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Results

Apparently, the letter did arrive just in time. But in the end, her efforts did not succeed:

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Here were the results of the election, with the top two vote-getters winning the open board seats:

  • Gay: 2714
  • Ruzicka: 2679
  • Groeteke: 1945
  • Horn: 1637
  • Kutilek: 1258
  • Fortenberry: 1062

Some Good Press

Sammons was able to console herself, though, in May, when former board member Richard Bowers wrote a letter to the Leader to defend her against the questions asked of her after the narcotics license lapse was revealed. She proudly shared this letter with a number of people via text message, reveling in the show of support against the forces that, in her mind, were conspiring against her.

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Here, you can see some of the fruits of the anti-Meyer campaign, along with delusional support of Sammons after she so clearly dropped the ball on the narcotics license. It does not appear from the texts that Sammons was involved in the drafting of this letter, but it clearly reflects her beliefs.

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