Prairie Village City Attorney Catherine Logan on Monday brought a formal ethics complaint against Ward 5 Councilor David Morrison, alleging Morrison gave a homeless man with a history of drug use and a criminal record access to City Hall during non-business hours.
According to the written complaint provided to Morrison’s fellow councilors, Morrison gave his security access code to a friend named Kelley Malone, allowing Malone to wander through restricted parts of the municipal complex over the course of several days. At one point, Malone was left unattended at City Hall for 16 hours.
Morrison appears to have first granted Malone access to City Hall on the evening of Saturday, Oct. 27. That afternoon, Morrison had contacted Prairie Village police dispatch inquiring about resources for homeless people. The dispatcher directed Morrison to the City Union Mission. But at 5:52 p.m., Morrison brought Malone with him to City Hall, where the two entered through the police department. Inside, Morrison told the dispatcher on duty that Malone was with him and was “authorized to be there.” Morrison then gave Malone a tour of City Hall before the two left at roughly 6 p.m.
They returned three hours later, at which point Morrison left Malone unaccompanied in the building.
A review of security footage from Saturday, Oct. 27 through Wednesday, Oct. 31 found that Malone spent the night inside the Municipal Building unaccompanied. Video also shows that Malone brought an unidentified woman into the City Council chambers at 8:53 Monday morning. They left roughly an hour later. Video doesn’t show what the two were doing during that time.
Only at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 31, when city staff encountered Malone in a secure staff area, were police made aware of his presence inside the building. During the course the police interview that followed, Malone told officers he had a history of heroin, methamphetamine and prescription drug abuse. He also said he was in fear for his life based on his knowledge of criminal activities, and that he had recently been shot at two times.
“[I]t is apparent that Councilmember Morrison gave his security code to Mr. Malone and gave unauthorized and unsupervised access to City Hall…” the city attorney’s complaint reads. “Access to certain areas inside City Hall is secure and not open to the public in order to protect the personal safety of City staff, the security of records and the safekeeping of valuable property and equipment.”
A response letter from Morrison’s attorney to Logan does not directly dispute any of the allegations in the complaint.
“Councilmember Morrison accepts full responsibility for this incident and believes that the City staff acted in an appropriate manner,” the response reads.
In the wake of the complaint, Morrison was temporarily removed from his position as Council President by the council. Charles Clark, who held the position prior to the start of Morrison’s term in April, will resume the role until the council takes action on the complaint against Morrison. A full hearing on the complaint, during which the council will deliberate over an appropriate remedy that could include expulsion from the council, is scheduled for 6 p.m. Nov. 19 in the Council Chambers.