An investigation into whether Overland Park City Councilmember Scott Hamblin should be removed from his seat has been dropped by the Johnson County District Attorney’s office.
In a brief letter to Overland Park Mayor Carl Gerlach, District Attorney Steve Howe said there is insufficient evidence to support Hamblin’s removal from office on grounds of “moral turpitude.”
“This office will not be instituting an ouster proceeding against Councilmember Hamblin,” Howe concluded.
The decision comes six months after a misdemeanor domestic battery charge against Hamblin was dismissed.
Police were called to Hamblin’s home July 21, 2020, and he was charged a day later with misdemeanor domestic battery with no priors.
In the weeks following his booking, Hamblin faced calls to resign from six of his council colleagues. Six former Overland Park city councilmembers also wrote a letter to the city urging Hamblin, a first-term councilmember representing Ward 6, to step down.
However, Hamblin did not resign. And at one meeting, fellow Councilmember Faris Farassati read a letter from Hamblin’s wife, Curstin, that supported him staying on the council. In the letter, she said in part, that calls for her husband’s resignation were politically motivated.
Following that, councilmembers voted to ask for an investigation into whether Hamblin could be removed from office via an ouster.
The council did not have the power to expel Hamblin, but Kansas law allows an ouster under certain circumstances, including the willful misconduct or neglect of duty, mental impairment or moral turpitude.
Such an investigation is undertaken by the district attorney or state attorney general and is not under the purview of the city council.
Moral turpitude is broadly defined as conduct that violates community standards of good morals, honesty or justice.
For his part, Scott Hamblin said he is happy to finally put the ouster question to rest.
“It’s been a long time coming. I’m glad to finally put this behind us about the ouster. I’m glad the politics can finally stop,” he said.