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Lt. Governor Kinder Announces Inquiry Into John Q. Hammons' Health, Financial Matters

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/ltgovernor_7567.mp3

Many unanswered questions surround wealthy businessman John Q. Hammons. Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder held a press conference today in front of Hammons Stadium to shed some light on rumors of a deteriorating health condition and who’s taking care of business when it comes to Hammons’ fortune. KSMU’s Chasity Mayes has more.

Kinder says he has a statutory obligation to advocate for the state’s senior population.

“I deal with issues such as prescription drugs for the elderly and the MO RX Program that I’ve chaired the last five years. Transportation issues, the meals program, both home delivery and congregate meals-- that sort of thing on a statewide basis.”

However, if it weren’t for a couple of close friends who asked him to look into Hammons’ situation, he wouldn’t be so heavily involved.

“When I was called by friends here, who are long time friends of Mr. Hammons, and asked to be involved, I felt it duty bound to open an inquiry, and that’s all I’ve done, I have not called it an investigation,” says Kinder.

Kinder says he was told by a representative of Hammons’ company that the Division of Aging sent an investigator to the care center where Kinder says Mr. Hammons has been for many weeks. Hammons, who had heart surgery in 2008, is said to be under the care of the Cleveland Clinic’s Chief of Cardiology, Dr. Brian Griffin along with Springfield MD Dr. Stephen Atwood. Kinder says that both of those doctors have agreed that Hammons’ shouldn’t have visitors at this time.

A power of attorney signed by Hammons’ himself put a woman by the name of Jackie Dowdy as legal guardian of Hammons. She is responsible for executing the recommendations made by both of Hammons’ medical doctors.

Kinder says he will assume that Dowdy is invested in Hammons’ well being for all of the right reasons, unless proven otherwise. A representative of Hammons’ company, Craig Louther, confirmed that one or two of Hammons’ pilots were allowed to seem him within the last week or so.

Kinder says he has received many frustrating phone calls from people who claim to be friends of Hammons’ who are upset because they are unable to visit him.

Kinder did say that Hammons has multiple cardiovascular, lung, and pulmonary issues at the age of 91. He would not confirm whether Hammons is now considered disabled or incompetent.

According to his website, Hammons founded John Q. Hammons Hotels, Incorporated in 1969. Today, the company operates 83 hotels in 25 states.

For KSMU News, I’m Chasity Mayes.