Village of South Gifford in Jeopardy

The village of South Gifford may not exist for much longer. That’s if voters approve a measure on the ballot that would revoke the community’s legal status – and abolish its government.

By Allan Vestal (Columbia, Mo.)

Dean Aholt is a member of the village’s council. He said local resident Shawn Roberts and his brother Brandon started the petition to abolish the village government after the community sued them over a property dispute. Aholt said if the government ceased to exist, the lawsuit would have to be abandoned. But, he said, attempting to stop the suit like this puts the entire village in jeopardy.

“I think this family will do absolutely anything in their power to destroy the town or get their way.”

Aholt and South Gifford clerk Donna Gray said some who signed the petition have since claimed they were misled--and intimidated.

Roberts declined a recorded interview, but says the petition came after broader concerns about the village government. He said local officials haven’t enforced laws in the same way for all residents.

Roberts also said supporters of the ballot measure never intimidated or misled petition signers.