Kansas mayor accused of perjury gets diversion agreement

The mayor of Shawnee, Kansas, has reached a diversion agreement with prosecutors that would resolve a perjury charge stemming from an open meetings complaint she filed using the name of another person without his permission.

An online notation in the case against Shawnee Mayor Michelle Distler indicates an order of diversion was entered on Tuesday, the Kansas City Star reported.

Distler’s attorney did not immediately respond to an email Wednesday seeking comment.

The investigation was opened last year after a local government “watchdog” informed police that he had received an email from the state attorney general’s office confirming receipt of his open records complaint. Ray Erlichman, a blogger on local politics, told police he had not filed it.

Erlichman told the newspaper Wednesday that diversion is probably appropriate considering the mayor did not commit an act of violence, pilfer public funds, or abrogate her fiduciary duties.

“She appears to have made a very irresponsible decision, which is a violation of the law but nothing that would, in my opinion, justify a jail term or anything stronger,” he said.

Distler has served as mayor of Shawnee since 2015 and was re-elected to a second term in November 2019. She previously served on the City Council.