Tricia Derges plans to stay executive director of non-profit despite federal fraud charges according to attorney
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Missouri State Rep Tricia Derges could face prison time if convicted of fraud. Derges is the executive director for Lift Up Someone Today, which is affiliated with offices in Springfield, Branson and Ozark, and intends to keep her role on the board.
Lift Up’s board member Dr. Luke Van Kirk says he doesn’t know what will happen with the Lift Up Springfield clinic but hopes it can keep its doors open.
“Despite what Tricia’s done and the trouble she’s gotten herself into, what she did have set up with Lift Up Springfield was doing a lot of good,” Van Kirk says.
Derges’s lawyer, Stacie Bilyeu, says Derges plans to keep her position as executive director of Lift Up and continue to practice medicine.
”The federal government can’t do anything it wants and there are rules of due process,” Bilyeu says. “They are not in charge of her medical license, which she has.”
The clinic targets helping low-income people get access to dental and medical services. Van Kirk says there were never any board meetings in the past, so none have been scheduled yet to discuss Derges’s position.
”I don’t think that she should continue to be the executive director but with the lack of organization on the board side of things, I’m not even sure how to get that going,” Van Kirk says.
Derges is a newly-elected representative, representing Missouri’s 140th House District, which covers eastern Christian County. She’s charged with 20 federal felonies, just weeks into the legislative session.
Bilyeu says Derges also plans to keep her seat in the house, but has lost some of her legislative power and been removed from all of her committee assignments.
”She is still a representative right now and that’s the truth today,” Bilyeu says.
House Speaker Rob Vescovo issued the following statement regarding state Representative Tricia Derges to KY3:
“Following the announcement of the serious charges filed against Representative Derges I immediately removed her from all of her committee assignments. After speaking with her and with the caucus, I am asking her to resign her seat with the House. The legal process will ultimately determine her guilt or innocence, but this is clearly a time for her to spend with her family as she focuses on her legal issues, and for the people of the 140th district to move forward with selecting a replacement who can effectively advocate for their interests.”
Bilyeu says Derges pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.
”This is America and in America you are presumed innocent until proven guilty,” Bilyeu says. “That has not happened.”
Derges is scheduled to stand trial here in Springfield next month.
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