Housing commission to rewrite conflict policy

BRANSON, Mo. | The Missouri Housing Development Commission plans to rewrite its policy regarding potential conflicts of interest following questions about commissioner Bill Luetkenhaus selling land at a profit to a developer.

Richard Baalmann Sr., the commission’s chairman, said the board didn’t find that Luetkenhaus violated any state statutes when he sold 20 acres in Wentzville last fall to Columbia developer Jeff Smith for $1.7 million.

Luetkenhaus bought the property two months earlier for $932,000.

But the commission did say toward the end of its two-day meeting here this weekend that it would craft rules to address these types of situations in the future.

Pete Ramsel, the commission’s executive director, said proposed changes to the ethics regulations would require commission members to provide more complete disclosure of such deals. Staff members also are recommending the creation of a four-member committee to consider conflict-of-interest disclosures and make recommendations to the full board.

About a month before completing the sale to Smith, Luetkenhaus sent a letter on Oct. 9 to state Treasurer Sarah Steelman, advising the then-chairwoman of the commission that a deal with Smith was in the works. He provided no additional details and didn’t tell Steeleman when the sale was closed.