ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) – With Ham and Eggs in the breeze — along with the intrigue over his links to an exotic dancer – Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder attended the Governor’s annual Ham Breakfast at the Missouri State Fair.
On a warm, sunlit morning in Sedalia, where hundreds of politicians gathered under a white tent for food , speeches and hobnobbing, Kinder arrived wearing a yellow dress shirt and khaki pants.
“There were at least two reporters who tried to talk to the Lt. Governor and he said that he had given several interviews yesterday and that was all he had to say,” Associated Press Reporter Chris Blank told KMOX.
Blank had sought to ask Kinder whether he believes the controversy over former Penthouse Pet and exotic dancer Tammy Chapman will affect his chances of running for Governor.
The Missouri House Speaker, Republican Steve Tilley, who has already announced his intentions to run for Lt. Governor, told Blank that in his travels around the state he senses Kinder still has “support from donors and from others and has been loyal to the Republican Party and a good leader for the party.”
Republican State Auditor Tom Schweich also voiced his support for Kinder, Blank said.
After the breakfast Governor Nixon held a news conference and was asked about the Kinder situation.
“The governor was asked whether his campaign or the Democratic Party had anything to do with this story and the allegations from Tammy Chapman. And he said, that all of this stuff is kind of ‘disappointing and disturbing’ and he doesn’t have much to say about it, and suggested the Lt. Governor should be the one answering the questions,” Blank said.
Blank said it was unclear whether Nixon was referring to the scandal itself, or the allegation that he and his party were behind it.
On Wednesday Kinder talked with KMOX, the Post-Dispatch and other media outlets, confessing he had met Chapman at the Diamond Cabaret strip club in Sauget in the 1990s. Kinder said he had visited the club about ten times, before deciding it was against his better judgment and stopped.
Kinder denied Chapman’s allegations that he was told not to return to the club after Kinder had allegedly become “aggressive” during Chapman’s dance routines. Kinder also denied Chapman’s claim that he had offered to let her live in his campaign-financed condominium earlier this year, when he ran into her at a St. Louis bar, Verlin’s, which is known for its pantsless parties in which waitresses wear only underpants.
Kinder claims that his “one and only” visit to Verlin’s, where Chapman snapped the infamous cell-phone picture of them together, was happenstance. He said he pulled over his car while driving up Vandeventer because he “had to use the restroom.” Kinder said he was not familiar with Verlin’s or its reputation.
Verlin’s on-line description boasts that it is known as a destination among politicians:
“This Soulard establishment recently relocated to Vandeventer, but never fear, the ladies behind the bar are as scantily clad (read: not wearing pants) as ever. It’s a destination bar for dudes, but when the Grove bars are full to bursting, you’ll find some ladies taking advantage of the surplus of men — not to mention the scene Thursday nights, when ladies drink free. With dollar longnecks, Saturdays are a sure bet. And keep your eyes peeled for Missouri politicians: A little birdie told us they like the view at Verlin’s, too. “
KMOX contacted Verlin’s to ask if Kinder had ever been in the club before. A bartender named Hannah said neither she nor the owner had ever seen Kinder in Verlin’s.
Copyright KMOX Radio