Monday, August 13, 2018

Meeting with MDC Director in April

         I do not want to see the MDC abolished; I want the greed removed, and I want to see it become an agency of conservation and preservation which it started out to be, concerned about protecting our wild game and fish.  I also want innocent people who suffer from a few thugs in the ranks of conservation agents to have their stories told, and to find protection under the law they deserve. 

         I think that is a reasonable goal of anyone who loves the Ozarks outdoors.  To that end, in the middle of April I met with the director of the Missouri Department of Conservation, Mrs. Sara Pauley.  She came to my Panther Creek Retreat for Underprivileged Kids, for a much anticipated meeting where we would discuss some issues that involve the MDC and the people of the Ozarks. I got her there by promising that in my fall issue of the Lightnin’ Ridge Magazine, I would print any story she wished to have published there relating real conservation projects, which were to preserve or restore our public areas which her department manages, and directly benefit fish and wildlife, providing opportunities for common ordinary Ozark people.

         In turn I wanted her to meet with three Ozark citizens who witnessed and had first hand knowledge of MDC corruption in the areas where they live.  It is a meeting which filled me with hope.  Finally there was an opportunity perhaps to change some of what has been going on for years and years.  Finally, there was the hope that we might have a chance to shine a light of truth on all that has been going on in that powerful and wealthy state agency for years, which has been kept hidden.

         Here is a run-down on what happened that day…  First of all, I quickly found out that much of what I talked to her about, she had no knowledge of.  When I asked her why the Conservation Department is paying the property taxes, and has agreed to do so forever and ever, for some well-placed and wealthy individuals such as lawyers and judges, I am sure she has no idea that has been happening.  When I asked here what return we average citizens get from Johnny Morris and his Bass Pro Shops for the millions the MDC has given him, I could tell by the look on her face she knew nothing about any of that. 
         She also, I am sure, knew nothing about retiring Director John Hoskins giving a gift of 145,000 dollars of MDC money via check, to a friend of his a few years before as he left office.  Much of what I wanted to discuss was information Mrs. Pauley didn’t have.

         So we switched to the idea of some conservation projects which could be economical, and yet accomplish a great deal.  She asked if I would outline and give details on three just such conservation projects.  I worked for hours on those three proposals which Mrs. Pauley promised to attempt to have done. I printed all three in the summer issue of my magazine and a good number of readers wrote to say how much they supported them.  Mrs. Pauley never acknowledged them, never responded in any way.
         She was absolutely agreeable about setting up dates when I could bring three different people to her office to meet with her and tell her about illegal activity of agents or the witnessing of the destruction of areas given to them to protect.  She eagerly agreed.  One of those people wanted to tell her about an agent holding a gun on his wife and nine year old daughter while eight (yes eight) other agents went through her home looking for evidence to convict her husband on anything they could find.  At the end of the whole day, they found nothing, and no citations were issued.  But the trauma that little girl experienced will last forever… and all for nothing.

         None of the things we agreed to were acted upon.  Mrs. Pauley didn’t even extend the courtesy of telling me why she had decided to go back on her word.  But soon after that meeting, the MDC lawyer, Jennifer Frazier, sent an email saying that SHE would conduct her own investigation into my accusations, and wanted the names of the people I proposed to bring to Jefferson City.  Ms Frazier said they couldn’t come to see Mrs. Pauley and I had to stay out of her “investigation”.  Much more about her ‘investigation’ is yet to come, in my book, “The Secrets of the MDC” to be published within a year.

         If you have an experience with them which you want heard, perhaps used in that book, contact me by phone at 417-777-5227, or email me at See the fall issue of Lightnin’ Ridge Outdoor Journal to read other articles which I often receive from sources inside the Missouri Department of Conservation.  A lot of good people inside that department are as concerned as anyone, and are begging me for help in making changes possible.
And please, please contact the publisher of this newspaper and thank her for letting the other side of the MDC be seen.   

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