Independence lawyer tied to utility projects that drew FBI scrutiny indicted for tax evasion | KCUR 89.3

Independence lawyer tied to utility projects that drew FBI scrutiny indicted for tax evasion | KCUR 89.3

An legal professional and former elected formal in Independence was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury on felonies similar to tax evasion.

John C. Carnes, 67, was charged with a person rely of tax evasion, just one count of corruptly endeavoring to impede the IRS and 7 counts of failure to spend taxes. He appeared in the Western District of Missouri Kansas Town Wednesday and was released on bond.

Carnes is a former member of the Jackson County Legislature and Independence Town Council who served two years in prison just after being convicted in 1989 of financial institution fraud and bribing an additional council member. His law license was reinstated in 2006.

Much more a short while ago, Carnes was associated in two Independence utility initiatives that have confronted a long time of FBI scrutiny — the city’s determination to invest in the former Rockwood Golfing System to build a solar farm and the deal to demolish the city-owned electrical power plant in Missouri Metropolis.

In accordance to the indictment, Carnes allegedly averted shelling out taxes involving 2012 and 2018 and attempted to hide his tax legal responsibility by shifting money into attorney rely on accounts, which are meant to be for cash that are in a lawyer’s possession in link with symbolizing a consumer. He allegedly owes approximately $345,000 in back taxes

Federal prosecutors say Carnes deposited $232,000 into legal professional believe in accounts that came from charges for solutions associated to the sale of the Rockwood Golfing System and the demolition of the Missouri Metropolis Electricity Plant.

The legal professional have confidence in accounts were being used, the indictment alleges, to protect against the IRS from collecting cash Carnes owed on income taxes.

Carnes is also alleged to have withdrawn income from attorney belief accounts to fund his personal and organization bills, which include at Kansas Town-place casinos. He also obtained income from consumers that he did not deposit into his financial institution accounts.

In an job interview Wednesday with the Kansas City Star, Carnes reported he’s often represented his clients “in moral boundaries.”

Utility contracts

In 2019, the FBI commenced questioning nearby officials in Independence about a pair of utility contracts issued by the town council in 2017.

Just one contract identified as for the metropolis to fork out a St. Louis enterprise $9.75 million to tear down a electric power plant that Independence Electrical power and Mild was no more time working with in Missouri Metropolis.

The bid was additional than 2 times that of the other bidder, and the operator of the firm that won it had longstanding ties to the lobbyist for Independence Ability & Light-weight, previous Missouri House Speaker Steve Tilley.

The other contract referred to as for the metropolis to pay out just about $1 million to invest in the previous Rockwood Golf Club in get to create a photo voltaic farm in a joint enterprise with Gardner Cash, a Springfield personal fairness firm.

Gardner Capital is also a Tilley consumer, and just times in advance of the vote to order the home political action committees connected to Tilley and funded Gardner produced four $2,500 donations to Independence Mayor Eileen Weir.

She vehemently denied the donations have been connected to her vote to endorse the venture.

Tilley would later on serve as the lobbyist for Titan Fish, a genuine estate enterprise that marketed the golf training course to the town for close to two times what it experienced paid for it just months before. The FBI interviewed Titan Fish’s owner in the summertime of 2021 about the utility contracts and professional medical cannabis licensing.

According to the Missouri Ethics Fee, as of Sept. 1 Tilley’s lobbying company is no for a longer period registered to lobby on behalf of Independence Electric power & Light-weight.

Weir briefly ran for re-election before this yr but dropped out of the race soon after she barely advanced to the general election. She was replaced by former condition Rep. Rory Rowland.

Independence gained a pair of grand jury subpoenas in early 2020 trying to get information of non-general public conferences of the Independence Town Council receipts submitted by four customers of the Independence Town Council for reimbursement.

Just one of the meetings in question was with Carnes.

The head of Missouri’s healthcare marijuana method testified under oath in late 2020 that a grand jury subpoena his company received was possible related to an FBI investigation in Independence.

There have been no indictments regarding both agreement.