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Fulton businessman objects to county plan to drop lease

The Callaway County Commission has voted unanimously to purchase a $300,000 building on 5.5 acres at 2800 Cardinal Drive in Fulton to furnish office space for the public defender and juvenile offices in Fulton. The county has been paying $47,000 in rent each year to lease space for the offices.

The Callaway County Commission has voted unanimously to purchase a $300,000 building on 5.5 acres at 2800 Cardinal Drive in Fulton to furnish office space for the public defender and juvenile offices in Fulton. The county has been paying $47,000 in rent each year to lease space for the offices. Photo by Don Norfleet.

David McDaniel, the owner of downtown Fulton offices leased to the county, is objecting to a decision by the Callaway County Commission to purchase a building instead of leasing from him.

McDaniel said the public defenders office was leasing space in the Palace building near the courthouse before he bought the building in 2004. He said in 2008 the county juvenile office also began leasing space from him through the county commission.

McDaniel said moving the offices three miles away from the courthouse will be inconvenient for employees of the public defender and juvenile offices.

“They do a lot of their work at the courthouse. They won’t have a place to park when they drive from an office three miles away to the courthouse,” McDaniel said.

McDaniel said during a recent meeting with commission members he was angrily accused of being motivated by political reasons for raising objections.

McDaniel said he was the campaign manager and contributed money to the unsuccessful campaign of former Democratic Presiding Commissioner Lee Fritz when Fritz was defeated in November of 2010 by current Republican Presiding Commissioner Gary Jungermann.

McDaniel said there is nothing political about his objection to the move by the county to buy property instead of leasing it from him.

Jungermann said during recent county budget sessions, all three commissioners were looking for short-term and long-term ways to save money by evaluating county spending.

The county’s leases for office space for employees of the public defender and juvenile offender offices were both expiring at the same time.

Jungermann said McDaniel had proposed a rate increase in the $47,000 a year the county had been paying to McDaniel to lease office space for the public defender and the juvenile offender offices that expired at the end of 2011.

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