Johnson County Judge David Hauber has ordered that Morrison be removed from office as the result of Morrison’s allowing a homeless friend, Kelley Malone, to stay in Prairie Village City Hall last year. After hearing three days of testimony last week, a 12-member advisory jury found it “highly probable” that Morrison had committed willful misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty. It did not find any violation of crimes involving moral turpitude. Those were the three issues the jury was asked to decide.
However, the jury’s findings were advisory only. Judge Hauber had the sole power to determine if Morrison should be removed from office. But, in his ruling, Hauber said the jury “got it right.”
“The undisputed evidence reflects a series of events that can only be described as breathtakingly bad judgment by Mr. Morrison,” Hauber says in his ruling. He said it was “particularly disturbing” that Morrison lied to a police dispatcher about the reason for Malone being in city hall and then attempted to “spin” the same conversation in court. “This was a significant line of testimony because the intent to lie and misrepresent is reflective of the fact that Mr. Morrison knew that what he was doing was wrong,” the judge said.
Malone posed a “health and security risk.” He noted that Morrison wanted to protect his family from the risk, but did not show the same regard for the city staff. “At trial, the Court observed Mr. Malone’s nose dripping throughout his testimony,” Hauber wrote “Whether that reflects the destruction evident from him sniffing heroin, cocaine or any other drug, is irrelevant. It demonstrates the deterioration of Mr. Malone’s health and questions raised by exposing him to others who had no idea of his background.”
The misconduct did involve a violation of the city’s ethics code, which is a “law” since it is incorporated by ordinance, Hauber said. The “Court’s judgment (is) that he be ousted from office … forthwith.”
Morrison was first elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012 without opposition. His term on the 12-member city council runs to 2016. Mayor Ron Shaffer will appoint a replacement for Morrison to complete the term. That appointment must be ratified by a majority of the remaining city council.
Find Hauber’s full ruling below: