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Revisiting the case against Matt Burgess
Letter To The Editor

Revisiting the case against Matt Burgess

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In this day of civil unrest, people are pleading for fairness even while dealing with a pandemic. Perhaps this is an appropriate time to confront aspects of our own community and to make sure our own houses are in order. As a people we are more than capable of fair dealing, honesty, empathy and compassion. With what I write here I feel a black cloud is hanging over this case.

The case of my financial exploitation of the elderly is being revisited here because our prosecutor’s office didn’t feel the need to notify the victim of the second case of Class A felony had been settled. My notification was it disappearing from Casenet.

Matt Burgess was arrested 12/1/2017. I checked the public records to find that Matt’s mother had contributed a total of $500 to Melissa Gilliam’s election campaign making $250 contributions on 3/19/18 and $250 on 7/5/2018. Matt’s brother, Brett contributed a total of $750 making payments of $500 on 03/23/18 and $250 on 10/5/18. Burgess Construction made a $100 contribution 8/13/18. Richard Sindel, Matt’s attorney made a contribution of $100 on 8/23/18 and $100 on 10/1/18. The former prosecutor told me he had seen a picture of Gilliam and Brett Burgess on her Facebook page during her campaign. In my civil suit against Burgess a judge was assigned from another county when a judge recused herself. A judge from another county was assigned to the criminal case against Matt. Court records showed the former prosecutor tried to get this case assigned to a prosecutor from another county… this was stopped by the prosecutor’s office.

Evidence in my case for financial exploitation

1. Bank records show Matt spent money for my house on himself in eight days

2. Records show Matt intentionally and permanently deprived me of the money I had to pay to finish the house since he had stolen the original amount. To date $52,495.94 I lost to me.

3. Paper trail and testimony of my civil attorney that Matt plotted to permanently deprive me of the house that I paid for in full and paid again to finish by entering into a settlement agreement to pay the bank for the lots and all liens. Matt failed to disclose he was on an extension from the bank and the subdivision would be foreclosed and my house would go with it as improved land while I waited. Matt made no attempt to pay for the lot or pay for any liens during this time. I offered information to Courtney Goodwin, who replied their decision to give Matt deferred prosecution had already been made.

4. Matt had five other felony charges at the time of my case.

Courtney Goodwin said evidence was not enough to win a jury trial. I said I thought it was but, her reply was it could be appealed, she was not my attorney, I had no say, it was decided and I was lucky to get $12,000. Missouri Supreme Court: Restitution must be for losses due. Was $12,000 what Matt wanted to pay? That amount has nothing to do with my case. In the Daily Journal Melissa Gilliam’s response: “considering available evidence” “reviewing elements of financial exploitation” “victim received substantial restitution” “provides a known outcome for all involved.”

I did not receive restitution, restitution means to restore. I would need $52,495.94 to have that. I did get a known outcome… as an elderly widow and my brother who is a disabled veteran we lost over $52,000 of life savings while the person who stole it has moved away and vacationing on their way to the mountains. This must be the community service Melissa spoke of.

I think the residents of St. Francois County would have wanted a jury trial, due process of law and to not have ambiguous happenings surround this case. I think most of the people of this county have empathy that this could have been them, their mothers, grandmothers, or their neighbors. As from the start of this letter… we are more capable than this.

Emma Wessel



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