When your Democratic controlled legislature asks a Republic attorney general to investigate you, the Democratic county executive, you might begin to think, “Maybe I should have stuck to baseball.”
Such must be the thoughts of former Royals great Frank White, the Jackson County executive. in fact, White has not gotten his name in the headlines this much since the Royals’ World Series season of 1985, and not a single one of the recent headlines has been anything close to good. This coming week Jackson County legislators are expected to ask Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley to investigate the beleaguered White.
In January 2016, the Jackson County legislature appointed White, a legislator, county executive after the surprise resignation of Mike Sanders. As the Sentinel has reported, Sanders, now under federal investigation for a different deal, has problems of his own. In November 2016, voters elected White to a full term with a baseball prominent on his yard signs.
While White was serving as county executive but before he was elected, he received word that his Lee’s Summit home was to be put on sale the next day on the steps of the county courthouse. White arranged an impromptu meeting with his predecessor, Mike Sanders, and Sanders’s law partner, Ken McClain. After the meeting was over, the Kansas City Star reported, “The deficit was erased and the former Royals great kept his Lee’s Summit home.”
“If you are not able to provide, and someone provides for you, I would assume you owe them a favor or two,” said legislator Dan Tarwater, a Democrat. That wold be a no-no. White claimed to have received “no loans from Ken McClain” but did acknowledge accepting gifts from McClain “related to attendance at sporting events.” He declined, however, to answer the Star’s questions as to where the money came from to rescue his house.
White blamed his financial shortfalls on the abrupt end of his baseball career. He writes about his plight as though it were a disease. “As many know, in 2011, I was let go by the Kansas City Royals,” White wrote. “This news caught me by surprise, and like many others, I was not prepared to handle such a financial loss. In the weeks, months and years that have followed, I have worked hard to rebuild. As I have confronted these issues, I have sought and received counsel and have followed their recommendations. While it has not been easy, I am proud of the progress I have made.”
White apparently did not make all that much progress. It turns out that White had not paid his state income tax from 2013 until April 2016, two month after he assumed the county executive position and swore that all his back taxes were paid up.
Complicating White’s post-baseball career is the fact that Jackson County has descended into political chaos. As the Star reported, “Legislators say trust in county government has broken down in recent months as the feud between White and the legislature has intensified.”
“Great employees, who’ve survived all manner of political dysfunction over the years, are suffering under this administration,” legislator Crystal Williams tweeted Thursday. “An extraordinary amount of upheaval underway at my beloved county.”