In a stunning turn of events, David Grothaus recently announced that he is stepping down from his position as Executive Director of the Missouri Gaming Commission. Grothaus announced on Friday that this move would take place next month, and the Missouri Gaming Commission will now begin looking for his replacement immediately. The move comes after Grothaus got into a heated dispute with members of Missouri’s highway patrol.
The reason that this announcement was unexpected is that Grothaus has only been in this position for a little over a year. He became the 7th executive director of the Missouri Gaming Commission last March, and his salary was $128,000 per year.
Grothaus came to the Missouri Gaming Commission with an extensive background in law enforcement and served on the highway patrol for several years.
Grothaus brought a new direction to the Missouri Gaming Commission, and that direction did not sit well with the patrol officers. There have been numerous disagreements over the past 13 months, and it finally led to him stepping down.
It appears that Grothaus will not pursue any other jobs, but will head into retirement. In a letter penned to MGC employees, he shared his belief that serving as the executive director was a great way to end his career. Grothaus served in the Air Force and Army from 1976 to 2017 before taking on various roles in the state.
Both sides have been mostly quiet since the announcement, with both units making a blanket statement recognizing Grothaus’ decision to step down.
The Missouri Gaming Commission and the Missouri State Highway Patrol have worked together over the last two decades to enforce gambling regulations and keep the industry safe. Grothaus did not agree with the way that the highway patrol was doing their job, especially in light of the coronavirus pandemic, and it led to many arguments.
Missouri Governor Mike Parson asked Grothaus to clean up the gambling industry when he was named the executive director, and he was extremely aggressive in his efforts to do so. Grothaus was frustrated with the amount of money that highway patrol officers were paid and felt that other people were more equipped for the job.
He also felt that the Missouri Gaming Commission had stepped away from their core values over the last few years in an attempt to bring in more revenue for the state.
One of the initiatives that Grothaus was looking to implement was to hire civilians to enforce the policies set by the Missouri Gaming Commission. Grothaus felt that hiring civilians would be much cheaper, and the new hires would also adhere to the new direction that he was hoping to take with the Missouri Gaming Commission.
This didn’t sit well with highway patrol officers in the state and caused a huge rift between the two agencies. Grothaus went as far as saying that patrol officers were using “guerilla warfare” tactics to keep this from happening.
Grothaus and the Missouri Gaming Commission was also upset that the Missouri State Highway Patrol wasn’t doing more to shut down the illegal gambling that was being done in the state. Patrol officers were afraid to punish anyone operating these illegal machines because they did not have support from attorneys or prosecutors in the state.
This resignation does come at a unique time for the Missouri Gaming Commission, as they are trying to find a way to navigate through the coronavirus pandemic. The 13 licensed casinos in the state were ordered to shut down by Governor Mike Parson in the middle of March, and that closure has been extended through April 6.