- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 11, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The former mayor of Grandview pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal charge accusing him taking about $35,000 in contributions that were intended for a nonprofit.

Stephen S. Dennis, who resigned in January as mayor of Grandview, pleaded guilty to wire fraud, the office of the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri said in a release.

Prosecutors said Dennis, 50, admitted to taking about $35,000 in two separate contributions in 2012 from International House of Prayer Forerunner Christian Fellowship, a nonprofit organization in Grandview. While the money was intended for Matters of the Heart, a nonprofit corporation Dennis set up, Dennis was accused of using the money for his family’s living, the federal prosecutor’s office said.

Matters of the Heart was established to “be a local community outreach to the poor and disadvantaged through direct volunteer involvement in education, literacy programs, entrepreneurial training and business mentoring,” according to a description filed with the Missouri secretary of state’s office.

Prosecutors said Dennis falsely claimed Matters of the Heart was federally tax exempt. The secretary of state’s office administratively dissolved Matters of the Heart in December 2012.

Under a plea agreement, prosecutors recommended Dennis be sentenced to about one year in prison. The court may also order Dennis to repay International House of Prayer.

Dennis‘ lawyer, William W. Lentz, said in a statement that Dennis could not comment on the case “because of the sensitive nature of the legal issues involved at this stage of the proceedings,” The Kansas City Star reported (https://bit.ly/1m3nx0p ).

Sentencing hasn’t been set for Dennis, who was released on his own recognizance.

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