Interview with Bollinger County Resident Denny Cato

Denny Cato was hired as a maintenance supervisor for the City of Marble Hill, (a rural community in Bollinger County, Missouri) on October 1, 2014. According to Cato his duties included maintaining the City’s streets, water lines and other infrastructure.

The operator of a gravel business before taking the job Cato stated that at the time he was hired, he occasionally used personal equipment from that business in order to carry out his duties, noting that he provided the City with 200 loads of gravel.

Cato was employed by the City from October 1, 2014- September 11, 2020 after accusations of “consuming or possessing alcohol” on the job, an accusation he denied. Initially suspended for two weeks (pending an investigation in the matter), he was allowed to return to work after no evidence could be obtained to verify the claim. Shortly thereafter he was terminated from his position.

The following video interview was conducted with Mr. Cato at his residence on July 21, 2022. In it, Cato shares the story of his nearly six-year relationship with the City, personal struggles he endured and what he feels were the real reasons his employment was terminated.

Because this story involves a sitting elected official along with the elected official’s wife (who is currently running for office) I feel it is timely and of great interest to the public. It should also be noted that since the upcoming primary election is for candidates running for county-wide offices, all residents of Bollinger County, Missouri are eligible to vote in it.

In addition to the 29 minute long video interview with Mr. Cato, I have uploaded documents provided by him. Of particular interest is one document which contains a hand-written note by Marble Hill Mayor Trey Wiginton which states, “Nobody signed a statement that Denny bought alcohol on the job. Denny is allowed to return to work and will receive pay for the two weeks of suspension. Pension and insurance will not be affected. 9/08/2020- Trey Wiginton.”

When asked if he felt there were other reasons for his termination of employment Cato noted that he never received any disciplinary action until President of the Bollinger County Chamber of Commerce Becky Wiginton (who is Marble Hill Mayor Trey Wiginton’s wife) wanted Cato to run water and sewer lines to a caboose located in Railroad Park (ostensibly so it could be used as an office for the Chamber of Commerce). Cato said he refused on the grounds that he considered the caboose a historic landmark. Below is his story in video and pictures. I leave it up to those who view them to make up their own minds.

Infraction Denny Cato received 12/ 20/2020 for saying the term “bullshit” on a two-way radio
Letter from the City of Marble Hill with hand-written note from Mayor Trey Wignton stating that allegations against Cato could not be proven and that Cato may return to work.
Disciplinary letter written by City of Marble Hill Administrator Mike Johnson stating that he and Denny Cato had “words” on 9-10-2020 about his prior write-ups (note document was not signed by Cato).

Notes from closed session city council meeting on 09/11/2020 (obtained via a Sunshine Law request) in which the Board of Alderman voted to terminate Denny Cato’s employment.
A letter dated September 30, 2020 from Marble Hill City Attorney Richard Whiffen demanding that Denny Cato stop entering non-public City property or interfering with City employees under threat of arrest. Cato maintains that he had not entered non-public City property or interfered with any City employees since his termination of employment on 09/11/2020.

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