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DUI leaker never interrogated

Staff writer

Pam Maag has, for a while now, expected Kansas Bureau of Investigation agents or Marion County sheriff’s deputies to show up at her door on Upland Rd.

No one from law enforcement has arrived to search her home at Marion County Park and Lake for computers or cell phones.

No one from law enforcement has called her.

That’s despite the fact that Maag is at the epicenter of what Marion Police Chief Gideon Cody said in an application for a search warrant were crimes committed against Kari Newell, owner of Chef’s Plate at Parlour 1886 and Kari’s Kitchen.

Cody, nearly his entire force, and two sheriff’s deputies searched the Record’s newsroom — seizing three journalists’ computers and two cell phones, a file server, and a backup hard drive — in addition to seizing two more computers, a cell phone, and a router at the home of editor and publisher Eric Meyer and his 98-year-old mother as well as a computer and cell phone at the home of Vice Mayor Ruth Herbel.

Herbel had emailed Jones on Aug. 4 about information she had received about Newell, who had been driving without a valid license since a DUI in 2008. Herbel has said police should investigate whether someone without a license because of a DUI should be able to receive a liquor license.

“Okay, you do know that she has been supposedly convicted of DUI,” Herbel wrote to Jones. “Maybe Cody could check this out. This information was put on Facebook Wednesday by one of her close friends, Pam Maag, who I think is the wife of Roger Maag, who was or is a highway patrolman. I sent Pam an (sic) PM to see if I could find out more.”

At 4:44 p.m. Aug. 4 — a week before police executed search warrants — city administrator Brogan Jones forwarded her email to Mayor David Mayfield and City Clerk Janet Robinson.

“I received this from Ruth just earlier,” Jones wrote. “First, I want to state that Chief/PD will not be looking into this.

“Secondly, the State is the oversight for this and will conduct all this type of research. We as a city need to stay out of this ‘hear say’ (sic) or whatever else you want to call it.

“We will go forward like any other individual and or business and let the State handle their business.”

Maag shared with Herbel and the Record a document that showed Newell did not have a license. A Record reporter verified the authenticity of the document by accessing a public website.

A copy of the document obtained from Maag was sitting on Meyer’s desk while police kept Record staff outside for hours during a heat advisory.

Police did not seize the document.

Newell’s quest for a liquor license is what prompted Maag to share information about someone who once was a close friend.

“When she took over the Parlour, I had asked her about a liquor license,” Maag said. “She said she only needed to have an ID. I kind of looked at her and thought, ‘What?’ ”

In fact, state records do not indicate that Newell has a license for the restaurant. The license previously was issued in the name of former owner Tammy Ensey, sister-in-law of County Attorney Joel Ensey.

People who don’t have driver’s licenses for one reason or another, including that they don’t have a vehicle or don’t know how to drive, can get what’s called a Kansas identification card. It allows residents of the state to have valid identification for such tasks as opening a bank account.

Maag, a former dispatcher, is married to a former Kansas Highway Patrol trooper, Roger.

In posts she has since deleted on social media, Newell said she continued to drive without a license “out of necessity.”

She did so from 2008 until Aug. 8, when she obtained a new driver’s license. The state required her to have an anti-drinking interlock device on her vehicle.

The Maags said they had been friends with Kari Newell and her estranged husband, Ryan. The Maags have since had a falling out with Kari Newell.

Maag told a Record reporter that earlier this year — a Friday in March, she believes — “Kari showed up at our house so drunk she could barely walk.”

Kari had driven to the house, Maag said, from Chef’s Plate. Maag said it wasn’t the first time Newell had driven while intoxicated.

Newell was crying hysterically while en route, Maag said, because she thought an officer was following her.

Maag was at her dining room table when Newell arrived.

“She was bawling and looked a wreck,” she said of Newell.

“We made her stay the night,” Maag said.

Newell, she said, slept on a sofa.

Last modified Aug. 24, 2023

 

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