Springfield, MO

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Lt. Gov. to visit Springfield today, discuss Hammons inquiry

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Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder will be in Springfield today to discuss the John Q. Hammons health and business inquiry he issued Oct. 29.

A news conference will be held at 1:45 p.m. outside of the front gates of Hammons Field. The conference is open to the public.

Kinder's inquiry focuses on the health and care of 91-year-old Hammons as well as recently made staff changes in his upper echelon. The inquiry was made after friends of Hammons contacted Kinder's office regarding his care and the conduct of his businesses, according to Springfield Business Journal coverage. The contacts have yet to be identified.

In the inquiry, Kinder, the state's official senior advocate, urged citizens to contact his office with any information concerning Hammons and his businesses.

Today, Kinder will detail the inquiry and provide information found thus far, said Gary McElyea, spokesman for Kinder.

He said the rush on a news conference in Springfield following the inquiry was important, considering Hammons' status.

"Mr. Hammons has been a beacon in the  business community for decades," McElyea said. "We understand how much of a treasure he is to southwest Missouri."

He said the news conference will allow Kinder and his representatives to speak to people in the area to further their fact-finding mission.

"In no way are we making any allegations or pointing any fingers at this time," McElyea said. "We're just trying come to a better understanding of what is happening."

McElyea said former Rogers, Ark., Mayor Steve Womack, who is running for Arkansas' 3rd Congressional District seat as a Republican, was set to speak - concerning how the the uncertainty surrounding the Hammons situation affects areas outside Springfield - but informed Kinder's office he couldn't make it at 1:45. McElyea was unsure if Womack will still make it to the conference.

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