Gladstone News

Smithville Alderwomen's Race Heats Up-Bombshell Revelations


In the bustling political landscape of Smithville, Missouri, where community trust and integrity are paramount, recent revelations have cast a shadow over the candidates vying for a position on the City Council. Former Smithville Alderwoman Kelly Kobylski, a hopeful contender for Ward 1, finds herself embroiled in controversy due to her significant delinquency on property taxes for the years 2022 and 2023. What makes this situation particularly egregious is Kobylski's involvement in a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Committee, where she played a role in abating taxes for a local business entity. Kelly Kobylski was first elected to the Smithville City Council in April of 2021 and is seeking reelection.

The intricacies of this situation unravel when scrutinizing Kobylski's involvement in the TIF Committee, which was tasked with providing tax relief to 110 Smithville LLC, a company seeking abatement on their personal property taxes. Kobylski, during her tenure on this committee, was expected to uphold the highest standards of fiscal responsibility and ethical conduct. However, recent allegations reveal a glaring inconsistency: while advocating for tax relief for others, Kobylski was neglecting her own tax obligations.

Alderwoman Kelly Kobylski
The crux of the matter lies in Kobylski's alleged failure to fulfill her tax responsibilities concerning her property on Main Street in Smithville, MO. Reports indicate that Kobylski owes over $7,000 in delinquent taxes spanning the years 2022 and 2023. This allegation not only raises questions about Kobylski's financial management but also calls into question her suitability for public office. My Gladstone made attempts on 2/5 and 2/6 to reach Ms. Kobylski for comment but the candidate has yet to respond.

As the municipal elections approach in April, Kobylski's opponent Kristine Bunch emerges as a controversial candidate of questionable background. Despite this, she maintains a staunch stance against city corruption and alleged shady dealings involving real estate developers and corporate tax increment financing (TIF) giveaways concerning the 110 Smithville LLC, downtown development project. Running for Ward 1 Alderwoman, Bunch vows to bring transparency and accountability to city governance.
Kristine Bunch

In response to criticisms against her, including a failed petition drive attempt for a financial audit that only collected 22 signatures, Bunch remains resolute, stating, "I am committed to fighting for the citizens of Smithville and ensuring that their voices are heard."

The election campaign, however, has not been without its controversies, with critics pointing to Bunch's past legal troubles, including lawsuits, bankruptcy filings, and allegations of not paying former employees. However, Bunch remains undeterred, focusing on her vision for a more transparent and accountable city government.

In a surprising turn of events, Clay County Commissioner Jason Withington was pulled into the mess by virtue of his endorsement of Kobylski. He maintains his support despite recent revelations regarding her significant delinquency on property taxes. The endorsement from Commissioner Withington has sparked debate within the community, with many questioning the commissioner's judgment in supporting a candidate with such significant financial discrepancies. Some residents argue that endorsing a tax-delinquent candidate undermines the principles of accountability and transparency that are vital in public office. When reached for comment Withington confirmed he will continue to endorse despite recent revelations regarding her significant delinquency on property taxes.

The irony of Kobylski's situation is stark. As a candidate aspiring to represent the interests of Smithville residents, her inability to adhere to basic financial obligations undermines the trust and confidence that constituents place in their elected officials. Moreover, her involvement in tax abatement decisions while being possibly delinquent on her own taxes casts doubts on her credibility and integrity.

Smithville residents rightfully expect their elected representatives to lead by example, demonstrating accountability and transparency in their actions. Kobylski's failure to meet this standard not only reflects poorly on her personal character but also undermines the integrity of the political process.

In light of these revelations, Kobylski owes the community a full and transparent explanation of her delinquent tax status. Furthermore, voters must carefully consider whether someone with such a glaring financial discrepancy is fit to serve on the City Council. While everyone is entitled to make mistakes, accountability and rectifying those errors are paramount, especially for those seeking to hold public office.

As the election approaches, the residents of Smithville must weigh Kobylski's qualifications, character, and track record carefully. The outcome of this election will shape the future of their community, and it's imperative that they elect candidates who embody the principles of honesty, integrity, and fiscal responsibility. Kelly Kowbylski's tax troubles serve as a sobering reminder of the importance of vetting candidates thoroughly and holding them accountable for their actions.

My Gladstone made attempts on February 5th and 6th to reach Ms. Kobylski for comment, but the candidate has yet to respond.

Commissioner Withington was reached and confirmed that he was endorsing Ms. Kobylski however he declined to provide any further comment.

Clay County Commissioner Jason Withington's endorsement of Kelly Kobylski for Alderman Ward 1 can be found on his social media account.

For further details regarding Kelly Kobylski's property tax delinquency, refer to the Clay County Property search website here: Below is a snapshot of Ms. Kobylski's property tax payments. The assessments in which the full amounts were not paid are highlighted.  As you can see Ms. Kobylski was delinquent as recently as last November. 

We have made the delinquent tax notice available here. following document below, from the Clay County website, seems to indicate that Ms. Kobylski's property taxes were delinquent.

Kobylski's Tax Bill from Clay County