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Judge moves to appoint special prosecutor in Cirtin case

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A Greene County Circuit Court judge this morning moved to refer a case calling for the removal of county Presiding Commissioner Bob Cirtin to a special prosecutor.

Judge Michael Cordonnier signaled that “the parties will be notified when the appointment of a special prosecutor is made,” according to court documents.

Linda Simkins — a Greene County resident who in February filed an affidavit with the Greene County clerk and prosecutor asking for Cirtin’s removal from office — said once appointed, the special prosecutor would review the evidence to determine if Cirtin should be removed as presiding commissioner.

Simkins is a retired litigation paralegal who has said she has no backing or political influence and is challenging the county as a concerned citizen. She alleges Cirtin forced county employees to spend work time promoting the Invest in Greene County Political Action Committee for the county’s new half-cent general revenue sales tax. The tax was approved by voters in November.

The affidavit points to whistleblower documents sent to Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway’s office from former county Communications and Public Engagement Director Trysta Herzog.

Simkins this morning told Springfield Business Journal she previously filed a motion to disqualify Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley and Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson from participating in the investigation. Patterson had referred the affidavit to Hawley’s office.

“In reviewing the statutory law applicable to the pending matter, the court does not find any authority for the Greene County prosecutor to refer the case to the attorney general,” the court documents from this morning read. “There is, however, authority for the judge of the circuit court to appoint a special prosecutor under certain circumstances.”

Simkins said said she was a bit shocked by the judge’s decision, though she supports it.

“I can’t explain to you how highly extraordinary this is,” Simkins said. “It’s due to the egregiousness of the situation.”

Cirtin and his attorney, Eddie Griem of Kansas City-based Graves Garrett LLC, could not be immediately reached for comment this morning.

Simkins also is the resident behind the ongoing investigation by the Missouri Ethics Commission into the alleged behavior by Cirtin.

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