Where's the Money?

Jefferson City's relatively new hospital was built by the city and Jefferson County and leased to Mercy Health Systems (AKA, St. Mary's) in 1997. The lease payments were to go toward health care for citizens, but instead City Council spent it on other things, including $900,000 for a new city center—prompting a lawsuit from Councilwoman Karen Smith. Smith accuses the city of improperly diverting funds and has asked for an injunction against the sale of the hospital, which Mercy proposed buying at one point. Attorney General Robert Cooper agrees with Smith and has asked the city to repay the money; he has also requested the suit be transferred to Davidson County as the state is party to the lawsuit.