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Business Loop CID seeks to have lawsuit thrown out

Columbia’s Business Loop Community Improvement District filed a motion to have a lawsuit against them thrown out.

Earlier this month, Jennifer Henderson sued the CID over the way they handled the election to put in the half-cent sales tax. Attorney Caleb Colbert represents the CID and wants the challenge to their December sales tax election off the books. Seven of the fifteen eligible voters turned in their ballots, approving the half-cent sales tax on December 10 with a 4 to 3 vote.

Business Loop 70 CID Executive Director Carrie Gartner said the sales tax will begin in April.

Voters were required to sign their names at the bottom of their ballots, and hired county election judges later counted them at the CID office. Henderson’s suit says the lack of a secret ballot, a secure place to store them, lack of voter notice and a neutral election judge, violated the state’s Mail Ballot Election Act.

The new motion says Henderson can’t challenge the CID’s election. The rules governing elections in Missouri’s Community Improvement District Act gives no one the ability to challenge a CID tax vote, the motion said, since the state’s general election laws only apply to statewide ballot measures, unlike the Business Loop 70 CID’s local-level ballot issue.

“In the absence of explicit statutory authority, [Henderson] has no right to challenge the sales tax election,” Colbert’s motion said.

Henderson’s attorney, Richard Reuben, says the Business Loop CID “mocked” the requirements for fair and impartial elections. ABC 17 News reached out to Reuben for a response to the new motion, but did not hear back as of Tuesday night.

CID Director Carrie Gartner says they’re ready to defend the election and outcome in court.

Boone County Judge Gary Oxenhandler is set to take up the issue February 8.

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