PEVELY, MO (KTVI)-- Threatening, ransom-like notes with word and letters apparently clipped from newspapers and magazines had authorities in Pevely on alert for the Board of Aldermen meeting Monday night.
Pevely resident, Erin Kasten, the target of the notes, spoke at the meeting, but faced the crowd. She said she didn’t feel comfortable having her back turned on “certain people” in the room.
She did not name the people but said she believed those behind the notes were present at the meeting.
“So, to whoever sent these letters … I think you have your answer: no, I won’t back away from Pevely,” she said. “If you don’t like listening to what I have to say, don’t worry you have to listen to me much longer, you’ll be sitting in a jail cell soon.”
The notes threatened to reveal what they call sexually explicit emails involving her.
Kasten said there were no such emails. If they existed, she said the local newspaper had her permission to print them on the front page.
Kasten said she’d only lived in Pevely for three months.
She’d been critical of a city government that had recently made headlines for several issues, including: failing to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenues; paying a six-figure settlement with an adult novelty story city leaders tried to keep out of town; paying the cell phone bill of the mayor’s wife for years; firing, then re-hiring the city administrator.
Pevely Mayor, John Knobloch, confirmed there were both uniformed and non-uniformed police officers at the meeting for added security. He cited the Kirkwood City Hall massacre.
He also said he’d asked the police chief to conduct a test of the “panic button” system at Pevely City Hall.
After the meeting, Kasten, asked for an escort to her vehicle.
Still, she said she would not be intimidated or blackmailed.
“If I don’t stand up for what I think is right, I really can’t expect anybody else to do the same,” she said.
Alderman Steve Markus had offered to put a $1000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of those behind the notes.
Resident Jason LaPlante, often Kasten’s political adversary, offered to give the reward a $500 boost.
“Really I don’t think I feel safe with my children … so I think it’s in the best interest of the city to get that said individual off the streets,” LaPlante said.
Police Chief, Ronnie Weeks, confirmed an ongoing investigation which included extra patrols of Kasten’s home and will likely involve federal authorities since it involved the U.S. Mail.
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