Thursday, July 27, 2006

Mayor Collins Calls Ethics Charges 'A Political Ploy'

Republic Mayor Jim Collins today called nepotism charges lodged against him by a Springfield attorney "a political ploy," orchestrated to distract voters' attention days before they cast their ballots in the hottest primary race in the Ozarks.

Collins, who is challenging Rep. Jim Viebrock for his 134th legislative seat, held a press conference in Republic today to clear his name of what he calls baseless allegations.

Earlier this week, Springfield attorney Richard Crites called on Collins to resign because the mayor appointed his wife to a children's committee. Crites said the appointment violated nepotism laws in Missouri's constitution and that Collins should step down.

Collins called the charge ridiculous. He said an ad-hoc committee would not fall under the nepotism clause because it has no "legal or statutory authority," and "has no power to make laws or adjust them."

"Any mayor can appoint their grandchild to one of these committees if they want," Collins said. "These citizens on these committees can brainstorm ideas and then suggest them to those who do have law-making ability."

"This is obviously political, including the timing," Collins said, adding that noone ever raised the issue for a year. "I would never violate any state or local laws. My excellent reputation has been attacked."

Collins said the people of Republic would suffer from this ethics filing, because he may have to use taxpayer money to defend himself from the charge. Collins called on Crites to reveal "who is behind this," so they could pay for the problem that they have caused.

When I asked Collins if he had any evidence Rep. Viebrock was involved, he replied, "I don't have any evidence, but I of course have my suspicions."

Collins said he didn't know why there was so much venom from his supporters and opponents about the upcoming primary vote. "I think a person's public record is fair game. I've put my record out there and referenced (Rep. Viebrock's). I'm not sure who's saying a lot of this on that blog but I think a lot of them are getting twisted up."

Collins reinterated his call for a debate with Viebrock. "I think a debate draws attention to the issues, not to conflict. And if you are up to date on the issues, why not defend your position? If you can't, why do you have the position?"

Collins said he hasn't done any polling on his chances.

So how close does Collins think this race is? "I think it's too close to tell. I really think it's going to be right down to the wire."


Takes two wings to fly straight said...

Viebrock says Collins is acting inappropriately as mayor of Republic. Collins says Viebrock is an ineffective do nothing legislator. Bilyeu says nothing bad about anyone. Neither Viebrock nor Collins say anything bad about Bilyeu.

The safe choice for voters is becoming more and more apparant.

RepublicFamily said...

2 wings -- I have to agree with you. Other sayings come to mind too. Like, "where there is smoke there is fire," which could apply to the accusations made about both Viebrock and Collins.

One post a couple of days ago said Viebrock ended the campaign in 2000 (or was it 2002) with a negative newspaper ad about Ron Mark and Collins. Looks like both candidates picked that up early this year.

One of my neighbors told me that Collins, while at his home campaigning, mentioned some fo the problems in Viebrock's personal life as reasons not to vote for him. I'm sure those in Viebrock's camp have done the same. And then you have the Republic City issues which seem to have lots of smoke and some fire, all focused on Collins personality and leadership. We've had BOA members writing into this blog (one by name and 2 with made up names). No doubt, there are some signifcant problems.

I think your assessment is correct, Bilyeu is the safe choice especially if you don't want politics as usual. Viebrock and Collins only offer more of the same.

The other thing that mainly bothers me is that Collins plays politics, makes power moves and campaigns negatively while leading a Baptist church. As a Christian, the idea of a pastor turned politician spins my stomach. And in this campaign we see the result. He wants to use the fact he is a minister to win votes but instead the fact he is a minister playing the part of a politician loses people to Christ. That is the real tragedy here.

Thanks also to the News-Leader for a very balanced and fair follow-up story about the ethics charge against Collins. Perhaps we will be hearing more about that story in the coming days and weeks.

Retiredreporter said...

I don't understand this statement from Collins about the KY3 blog .... "Collins said he didn't know why there was so much venom from his supporters and opponents about the upcoming primary vote. "I think a person's public record is fair game. I've put my record out there and referenced (Rep. Viebrock's). I'm not sure who's saying a lot of this on that blog but I think a lot of them are getting twisted up."

Haven't all of the comments on this website been about Collins public record? That is sure the way I've read them. Seems like issues with the city, other members of the BOA, how he has run his campaign, how he has campaigned and how he has treated others as Mayor are all part of his record. Aren't they? In fact, some might argue that his work and comments as a pastor should be part of the public record.

I have not read comments about other aspects of his life (which others in the community do talk about, by the way). However, I have seen comments about Viebrock's personal life from Collins supporters. So, I'm just really unclear on what Collins means by saying that.

Good story in today's newspaper by the way. And thanks to KY3 for following this story.

I'm sure there will be more to this story and it looks like the conflict within city government is going to continue unfolding also.

AshGrovePirateGuy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
oldnewsreporter said...

I can't believe what I am reading from the republic family. It is heartbreaking to read some of these blogs, but this one takes the cake!!
I am disgusted by the allegation that Jim is losing people (to Jesus Christ) because he is a pastor turned politician? I guess you won't vote for Bob Bilyeu either because he was a miniter of music for South Haven Church for decades.
The real tragedy is that you call yourself a Christian, but you are not exactly acting like one either.
I would hope that more pastors would be involved in our political system, maybe then our country will get back on track. Get us back to where we need to be, on God's side.
Only God knows if you are truly saved, so let's not be judging others. The person throwing the stones, needs to take a look within.

AshGrovePirateGuy said...

A political ploy with what type of result?

RepublicFamily said...

oldnewreporter ... isn't there a difference between a pastor/politician campaigning on the fact he is a PASTOR versus someone who served as a part-time music minister but isn't campaigning now on the fact that he USED to be a part-time music minister? Don't you see a difference there? This is the same type of connection that so many see with Pat Robertson and Jerry Farwell, isn't it?

I'm not saying Collins can't be (or isn't) a good pastor (I don't know) but there is a difference in the mission/focus of a pastor and a government leader, at least there is according to the Bible if we still want to use it as a guide. By the way, you don't have to be a pastor to be a good Christian leader or representative. The position of "pastor" carries with it a different level of responsiblity and is held to a different level of account by God. That is it from me for a while. Part of that is to be accountable for church members but we are also called to account for those who we turn away from Christ through our words and deeds. I would think a pastor using negative campaigning techniques would be a turn off to some.

At this point I think the facts of the events and campaign as they unfold speak for themselves.

AshGrovePirateGuy said...

I’d have to agree with republicfamily on this one. We DO need Christian leaders and Christians in government but that is not the same as saying we need pastors in government. If a person is truly a pastor then their role is completely different. The role of a pastor is NOT to become a political leader. The two are very different and they serve very different kingdoms. We do, however, need Christian representatives.

As for retired music minister versus an active pastor, well, trying to make a connection of similarity between the two is pretty “lame.” If you don’t want to take my word for it then don’t. The duties and requirements of a pastor are addressed in the Bible, a music minister is not.

Retiredreporter said...

I’ve been a lay pastor in the past. I would not have run for political office at the same time. The two do not mix. I’m reminded of Galatians 6:12 which says, “Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised.”

Everyone wants to make a good impression. That is why we dress the way we do, shave or put makeup on, work our positive traits into our conversations, drop names, rub shoulders with the elite, speak authoritatively about topics we know little about, work our way up the ladder, or whatever else we can think of to make ourselves look better.

For some people – and candidates-- making an impression defines their life.

For some people, making a good impression defines their faith also. It’s sad when that happens.

All too often, Christians conform to the traditions of men instead of the image of Christ because men express their approval more immediately. And in embracing the trappings of the age, we lose the war of the ages.

In the spiritual battle, the enemy always tempts us to live Christian lives that are fueled by externals rather than by the indwelling Spirit. That enemy has influence over the externals. If he can get us to base our lives on them, he can keep us fruitless and frustrated. If not, he doesn’t stand a chance.

Seeking human validation always spells defeat.

Price Kellar said...

Better than roses on your piano...
Hi, this is Price Kellar. Sure, the attorney in Republic, well one of several, it seems we’re growing. I will endorse every one of my posts with a signature. You can always reach me at 732-6280 is you’d care to respond to anything here as an anonymous human voice rather than as a blogging fool with a url track to trace.

Somebody launched into a detailed history of why I might be the guy behind Mayor Collins woes. Their “research” was close enough I figured response might be appropriate. I don’t remember the allegations well enough to respond with specifics and the foggy blog is now erased. If you’re the person that flogged and blogged, write or call if I leave something out worth addressing.

1) Being an attorney is interesting in a small town. I know who’s done who, who’s doing who, and (often) who wants to do who. I don’t know who wants to do me, but, I’m as human as the next guy. Stick me and I’ll bleed. Stop seeking my counsel or dining at my restaurant and I’ll retire. One cool thing about asking an attorney for counsel is the attorney-client privilege. I’m not talking, not even the pope or John Cantenese could get a secret from me. Let me share what I can, and you decide if I should give up 15 years of law practice and nearly a year of keeping open a fun little sports café where Republic celebrates community, and Central Ozark Conference victories.

2) On the legal front, I did file suit against Sheriff Merritt. I grew up farming, like farm people, and represent a few odd cases if they interest me. Usually, I stick to injured workers and accident victims because my own spinal cord injury helps me relate to my client’s frustrations. Bill Zobel had $500,000 in horses taken by the Humaniac Society. The Sheriff and most of Greene County’s legal system were made pawns and stooges in the process. We lost Zobel’s case because he ran out of funds to fight…you don’t get to sell your horses to fight…they are gone. Ironically, I consider Sheriff a good friend. Not a week goes by that he fails to stop and visit with me about my horses kept close to his home. We favor the same stallion. Sheriff and Mrs. Merritt dine in Riley’s Sports Café, the restaurant my wife Becky and I are blessed to own. Greene County will be weaker without Merritt’s leadership.

3) Jim Collins did openly criticize my attempt to turn a little house on Main Street into a law office in 2001. Pretty strange for an “expansionist.” Jim didn’t vote against it because the proposal was sunk before it got to him. Main Street could have been a cute row of law, counseling, dental, chiropractic, and professional offices worth a fortune… instead, it’s still falling in on itself. Jim Viebrock owned that house I tried to buy. Collins should have recused himself from the discussion, not led the opposition. (both were running for the 134th at the time). Every time I drive by that little house, I wish I practiced law from it. I’ve done okay without it thanks to Republic’s people. I like my new office. I let by gones go and often enjoyed visiting with Mayor Collins, city officials, and Mrs. Collins at Riley’s Sport’scafe.

4) Richard Crites and I were NEVER partners. We’d drive each other crazy. He is a swashbuckling pirate…I’m more likely to ask nice until the other side gives in.

5) Dean Thompson, City Administrator and the only guy Republic really would miss if he got sick of the crap small town politics is full of, shot his mouth of at the last BOA meeting after Crites asked Mayor Collins to step down for being involved in nepotism. He implicated attorneys, saying it would be wrong and a conflict of interest to be influenced by a local attorney who might be involved in a lawsuit with the city. I’ve never sued our town. Dean and I will meet this Monday to iron things out, but I’m on record here now: I have an active family, run a law office, Sports Café, and manage a herd of incredibly well bred horses on the way to breeding world champions. I don’t have time to keep up with Republic or influence our Alderman. I just hope they do well—I’m proud to call Republic home. Know your facts if you EVER implicate me by name or persona and we will get along fine. No more meetings necessary. No law suits.

6) Before the last BOA elections, Alderman Chad Cole came to me with a request I help with his campaign for alderman. Chad likes my restaurant. I like Chad and his wife Donna. I let him hang four signs in my place, even indicated I was his campaign manager. The big red-headed kid loves Republic and gives hours to coaching our kids. Chad walked door-to-door and met his constituency…he beat the mayor pro-tem by 3 votes. I’m proud of Chad. He served in Iraq. He is genuine. He has never asked me an opinion on a single city issue. He loves Republic.

7) OK Armstrong is supposed to be another under my influence. All I know of OK is he cares about our transportation plan. OK won’t likely be alive by the time Republic is known as a “big town that you can really get around in.” but somebody ought to listen to him and help.

8) Been lots of talk about who deserves our vote: Bilyeau, Collins, or Viebrock. My choice is Viebrock because I know his work ethic and I’m helping him pass a bill that will direct the humane society to work with farmers, not just take their damned life savings in live stock based on two 60 year old laws. Collins is a vote for small time religion—a couple little Baptist churches he ran. Bilyeau is a vote for big time religion. His little brother Hosea runs Ridgecrest Baptist on Republic Road. I doubt a more powerful man of the cloth has a retired brother available for office anywhere in Missouri. If you like all that mixing of church and state, choose a church fella. For a while I considered being a minister. But those are tough human standards to live up to unless you’re as charming as Jimmy Swaggert or Jim Baker. It looks bad if you file bankruptcy as a preacher…real bad if you get tangled in a tryst with a ewe from your flock. The biggest reason of all, I could never decide which might look better in front of my church: roses on my piano or tulips on my organ.

9) All I care about is the future of my slice of paradise. Whoever wins, God bless you. I will continue to spearhead a fundraiser that earns Republic Athletic Boosters $25, 000 0r $30,000 a year. I’ll fight for farmers. I’ll help injury victims. My wife & I will run a sports café we named after our grandson. I will work with you to make our District stronger OR I’ll run against you as Democrat in 2008 if our District is badly run. I love the Ozarks and Republic Missouri.

Price Kellar

RepublicFamily said...

What a great post!

I do have two comments. One, Jim Collins has said the hamburger at Riley's is the best in the area. But, he has also said he has never eaten there at the cafe because they serve alcohol (or anywhere else that serves alcohol). I am wondering if you have seen him there in person?

Also in your comments you said: "It looks bad if you file bankruptcy as a preacher…real bad if you get tangled in a tryst with a ewe from your flock." Who is it that has filed bankruptcy? Anyone we might know? I do know which candidate the second statement refers to.

And three, what does "roses on my piano or tulips on my organ" mean? Am I missing some hidden meaning?

Then finally, the blog and comments that were written and implicated you as being involved have NOT been deleted. They are available for reading at:

Thanks for the clarification and for having the nerve to sign your name. By the way, everyone in my family enjoys Riley's also.

Price Kellar said...

This is Becky Kellar, I own and manage Rileys's. I am there 90% of the time the doors are open. Yes, Jim has eaten IN Rileys. Table #2 with is wife and table #12 with city officials, I believe. Spoke with him personally while he was in there and complimented me on our burgers. Hasn't been in since Chad Cole hung election posters in our place. Don't know if it is because I serve booze or because I am friends with Chad, interesting either way.

Chad Cole said...

Well I have really enjoyed all the posts on here its actually better than watching TV LOL!!! I want personally thank the City of Republic I enjoy serving as alderman in Ward 4 its truly a blessing living in Republic! I want to challenge everyone to get out on election day and vote! I endorsed Jim Viebrock for several reasons and I would encourage everyone else to call the candidates and see where they stand on the issues. I assure you once you speak to Viebrock you will know he won't let you down.He will keep on fighting for all of us in the Ozarks. We have some great years ahead of us in the City of Republic. Lets do our part and elect a candidate who stands up for us. Oh and by the way Rileys serves great salads!

AshGrovePirateGuy said...

I'm still trying to understand what the "political ploy" Collins claims was behind Richard Crites letter to the council was supposed to achieve? I just saw a copy of the Republic Monitor. They did not cover the event at the council meeting (in last weeks newspaper) but this week did cover the ethics charge because Collins held a press conference. Should have kept his mouth closed, huh?

If a political candidate and public official cries foul in the woods does anyone hear it?

Again, what was the "ploy" supposed to accomplish? Get Viebrock elected? I've asked Viebrock and others supporting him and they all swear they didn't know the details of what was going to happen or who was behind it.

I'm guessing that Bilyeu wasn't behind it. I assume Collins wasn't behind it. Is Crites working for OK Armstrong?

I'm still confused, but that is okay. I just live in Ash Grove, not Republic.

RepublicFamily said...

In an earlier post there was a lot of discussion about who on the city council supported Jim Collins. Well, we know Chad Cole does not (at least not for state representative). However, Collins website ( now has an active list of supporters. What a list! I won't dissect the entire list (still online as of 8-2-06 at 4 p.m.) but you should know that the following Republic BOA are listed as supporters:
Brian Buckner (who has posted here)
Rev. Steve Ward
Josh Morris
Gerry Pool
Keith Roberts
Dennis Robbins

That is everyone on the council except for Gary Wilson, Chad Cole and OK Armstrong.

RepublicFamily said...

Just in case you missed it, Jim Collins -- candidate for the State Representative 134th District and current Mayor of Republic -- got about 10 minutes of free airtime on KSGF this morning (at about 8:15) with Vincent David Jericho. Reportedly, the other two candidates were offered time and a chance to debate but declined. Jericho said he was giving Jim airtime because of all the lies that are being told about him. Huh?

The time was basically a commercial for Jim. He was given minutes and minutes free from interruption or calls to explain his main goals and all of the success he has had in Republic. At the end, Jericho made it very clear that he is a "fan" of Jims. I guess that explains why he is listed as a supporter on Jim's website.

Here are a few highlights of what Jim Collins said:

• “A state representative should be checking with city government to see what they can do to help the local city. Our current state representative does not do that and I will.”

• “I will introduce a bill the first week I am there to make state charges the same as federal charges. If you are cooking meth you need to be in jail.”

• “I want to deal with illegal immigration and there are a couple of things the state can do. I want a stiff fine per day, per illegal alien. At the state level you can take away their state services like social security and free and reduced lunches.”

• “I want to establish a faith-based organization that lets groups adopt families that need help … church would provide a place to live, food and shelter as well as train and council that person. That person can then go to school and get a better job and have a disciplined lifestyle. No longer are they a drain on society.”

• “I’m not for political appointees.”

• “Stem cell research … “I am absolutely against stem cells research. You are either taking a life or you are not. If we are taking a human life it is wrong.”

And the best comment of all …

• “I my opinion, a husband and wife’s relationship is supposed to be lifelong.”

If he can say it with a straight face then he must really mean it.

Retiredreporter said...

Ah, a state representative could not pass a measure to take away Social Security benefits or free lunches from illegal immigrants. Those are both federal programs governed by federal law. That says to me that Jim Collins doesn't know what he is talking about on this issue ... and probably on several others.

sca316 said...

Did anyone see the Collins ad on KY3 all of it being taped in Ozark ? Why does a candidate drive clear to Ozark for a fundraiser and to make a commercial for the 134th in Ozark we have just a nice a back drops here in the 134th.