Leawood City Councilmember Debra Filla has been charged with stealing a campaign sign last month and will face arraignment in municipal court early next year.
In the days leading up to the Nov. 7 election, Filla allegedly stole a campaign sign promoting mayoral candidate Steve Hentzen.
Leawood Police took the initial criminal report but have since referred the investigation to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office to remain impartial.
The Post has requested a copy of the investigative report from the sheriff’s office but has yet to receive it.
Filla declined to comment when reached by the Post Tuesday morning, but in a Facebook comment in early November in response to a Hentzen post, she explained that she had intended to reposition the sign to avoid “clutter” in a traffic island and offered to return the sign to Hentzen.
The sign was in a northern Leawood neighborhood
- The first page of the initial Leawood Police report regarding the incident says the theft occurred on Nov. 2, less than a week before the general election in which Leawood voters were being asked to pick a successor to long-serving Mayor Peggy Dunn, who was stepping down.
- The theft occurred at a traffic island near 86th Street and Cherokee Lane, in a northern Leawood neighborhood.
- Hentzen said he’d placed a sign there just hours before after delivering a sign to a resident who wanted one in their yard.
- Hentzen says a resident sent him a video showing Filla getting back in her car near the traffic island, though the video does not show Filla taking a sign. At least two other Hentzen campaign signs in the same traffic island remain after Filla drives away.
The incident happened right before the election
- Hentzen reported the incident to Leawood Police Department, who referred it to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.
- He also posted about it to Facebook and to neighborhood messaging app Nextdoor.
- In the November election, Filla endorsed Hentzen’s opponent, planning commission chair Marc Elkins, who ultimately defeated Hentzen by a double-digit percentage point margin.
- Still, Hentzen said he felt compelled to file a police report: “This kind of activity is wrong on so many levels. I personally feel like the the actions were so juvenile — so below what an elected official should do.”
Filla said she was “repositioning” the sign
- Filla faces an arraignment on Jan. 3, according to a report from the Leawood Municipal Court.
- She has been charged with theft totaling less than $1,500. (The Leawood Police Department’s report lists the stolen sign’s value as $20.)
- Filla serves Ward 1 in Leawood, a role she has held for more than a decade. Her current four-year term ends in 2026.
- Filla wrote a comment on Facebook in response to Hentzen’s post about the sign being taken, which can be read below: