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Missouri auditor says he can't find former St. Louis prosecutor Kim Gardner

Missouri State Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick speaks during a press conference about locating former St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner on Monday, May 6, 2024, at the Wainwright State Office Building in Downtown St. Louis. Fitzpatrick has attempted to subpoena Gardner for several months.
Eric Lee
St. Louis Public Radio
Missouri Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick speaks Monday about difficulties locating former St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner at the Wainwright State Office Building in downtown St. Louis.

Missouri Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick has issued another subpoena to former St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner in an effort to force her to participate in a review of her office that began in 2021.

“It’s important that Kim Gardner be made to answer for her time as circuit attorney one way or another,” Fitzpatrick said Monday at a news conference announcing the move. “It’s now clear that Kim Gardner does not want to answer for her time as circuit attorney.”

This is the second time Fitzpatrick has attempted to use the subpoena power of his office to force Gardner to cooperate with the audit. He was set to go to court last year to enforce an earlier subpoena for information on the same day Gardner resigned earlier than planned.

Fitzpatrick said his staff has tried to contact Gardner for months, including sending letters, making phone calls, contacting former colleagues in the General Assembly and reaching out to attorneys who have represented her in the past or are still doing so.

“It appears she has willfully evaded our many efforts to obtain information that only she can provide,” he said.

Fitzpatrick said the report will be published by the end of the year regardless of Gardner’s participation, but he wanted to give her a chance to explain possible findings of mismanagement and questionable expenditures.

“What we have learned through the audit itself is that during her administration, Kim Gardner herself was very involved in making nearly every decision for the office,” he said.

Fitzpatrick praised Gardner’s appointed successor, Gabe Gore, for having an “open door” policy with the audit staff. And while he said his predecessor could have been more aggressive in getting information from Gardner, “the reality of the situation is, the circuit attorney’s office should have been as forthcoming then as they are now under the leadership of Gore.”

The circuit attorney’s office is the last report that’s needed to finish a 2018 request by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen to do a comprehensive audit of the city.

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.