County official lied about interaction with Stew Hansen
My name is Kevin Stover. I am the commercial and fleet business manager for Stew Hansen Dodge. I had a very unpleasant discussion with Dave Thompson which has led to a series of events, and an outright lie being told by Dave.
I watched the Feb. 9 Marshall County Board of Supervisors meeting. I wanted to reach out to someone to give my version of the events that led to the discussion during that meeting.
It started the week of Jan. 18. Harry Bougher is the commercial and fleet sales director for my dealership. He was out of the office for a funeral. I can’t remember if it was Jan. 18 or Jan. 19, but on one of those days, Bill Patten came into my office at Stew Hansen Dodge City. He introduced himself as part of the Marshall County Board of Supervisors. The first thing he did was to apologize for not having a business card with him or anything else that would identify him as being part of the Board of Supervisors. He was trying to get information about potentially canceling orders that were made by the county.
I explained to Bill that Harry was out of the office and would be returning on Wednesday. At that time, I was unable to confirm any orders. I told him our dealership’s concerns about privacy. For what I knew, Bill may have been a concerned citizen trying to get information about the county’s purchases. Who knows?
Again, Bill apologized for not having anything to identify him as being part of the board. I believe Bill called again on Wednesday. He was a little upset Harry had not returned his call. At first, I misunderstood what Bill was looking for. I thought he was trying to cancel orders for vehicles ordered by Marshall County. When Harry looked in the order bank, he did not see any orders for Marshall County.
It turns out Bill was trying to get information about canceling orders for the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department. They were units that had already hit the ground and were ready for delivery. At that point, Harry reached out to Sheriff Hoffman.
I had taken the afternoon off to spend time with my sons, age 13 and 8. I had picked my 13-year-old son up from school. I was driving when I had a call come in from the 641 area code.
The caller said his name, which I didn’t make out at the time and started to aggressively tell me what information I am going to provide immediately. I interrupted and asked who I was talking to. He told me his name was David Thompson, and he was on the Board of Supervisors with Marshall County. He wanted to know why I was refusing to give information to Bill Patten.
Every time I would try to speak, Dave would raise his voice and talk over me. At one point, I informed him I had my son in the truck and he was on speakerphone. Dave didn’t care. He continued to shout orders at me and at the end, implied that if I didn’t cooperate, Marshall County would not be doing any further business with Stew Hansens. I explained to him that I did not know who he was. The only contact I had at the time was Sheriff Hoffman. The only communication I had with the sheriff was via email. I gave Dave my contact information. He was going to send me an email requesting the information about the units ordered.
During the supervisors meeting, Dave said I told him that I was under direct orders from the sheriff to not release any information to the board. That is an outright lie fabricated by Dave. I had told him I was going to get this information to Harry. We were going to reach out to the sheriff. If the sheriff authorized us to release the information, we would. And we did.
The funny thing is through all of this, I was only a go-between. I did not have the access to the information they were looking to get. Dave was very rude and hung up on me before I could tell him that. I had to call back to let him know what was going to happen. It is frustrating to me that a public official would speak to a total stranger in the manner that Dave was speaking to me that day in front of my son. And then to have Dave telling people that I was rude to him?
The sheriff defended the dealership in that meeting. He also made it clear to Dave that the sheriff and I had never spoken. We had only communicated via email.
The issue at hand was privacy. It wouldn’t have mattered if it was the county or an individual. We have strict rules protecting the information of our customers. We have had ex’s call, wanting information about vehicles. We have had parents, siblings. It is surprising how many people try to get information. We were doing our jobs to protect that information and Dave was not having it. He was upset because I did not cave into him and do exactly what he wanted, when he wanted it done.
In the supervisors meeting, Dave kept referring to the 32 minutes it took to get a response from the dealership. He felt we had stonewalled Bill for two days and because Dave sent me an email, he had his answer in 32 minutes. The sheriff was 100 percent correct when he told Dave that it was only because he told us to release the information. If the sheriff would have taken an hour to release the information, it would have taken an hour for Dave to get it.
As an outsider, it was very hard to watch that meeting. It is not my county. But once Dave lied about what I said, I felt like I was watching a bully trying to rally the troops around him like he was the victim.