Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Fourth Division
from the Circuit Court of Platte County, Missouri The
Honorable Dennis C. Eckold, Judge
Mark D. Pfeiffer, Chief Judge, Presiding, Victor C. Howard,
Judge and Cynthia L. Martin, Judge
Cynthia L. Martin, Judge
City of Kansas City, Missouri ("City") appeals from
the trial court's judgment against Bego Cosic
("Cosic") awarding the City unpaid earnings taxes
and other costs, but failing to award prejudgment interest.
The City argues that the trial court erred in not awarding
prejudgment interest because a city ordinance mandates the
imposition of interest. We dismiss the City's appeal.
and Procedural Background
October 2016, the City filed a petition against Cosic seeking
to recover delinquent earnings taxes for the 2011, 2012,
2013, and 2014 tax years. The City requested penalties,
attorneys' fees, and other costs. Relevant to this
appeal, the City also sought $480.98 in prejudgment interest
pursuant to a municipal ordinance: section 68-394(a) of the
Kansas City Code of Ordinances.
trial court held a bench trial on the City's petition on
May 5, 2017. The City introduced twelve exhibits at trial,
three of which were purported to be controlling ordinances
applicable to the monies sought. Exhibit 3 was described in
the trial transcript as "Kansas City Ordinance Article 4
regarding Earnings and Profits Tax."
trial, the City presented testimony from Aaron Dispenza
("Dispenza"), a senior analyst with the City's
Revenue Division. Dispenza testified that Cosic's federal
tax returns for years 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 demonstrated
Cosic earned wages subject to the City's earnings tax.
Dispenza stated that Cosic had not paid earnings taxes on
these wages. The amount owed at the time of trial was
reportedly $2, 823.76, which included interest. Dispenza did
not specify the amount of interest owed, but explained that
interest is assessed at a rate of one percent per month
(i.e., twelve percent per annum), beginning from the
unpaid tax's due date. Dispenza did not refer to section
68-394(a) or to Exhibit 3 when discussing the interest
trial court entered judgment on May 5, 2017. The trial court
found in favor of the City, awarding $1, 785.46 for the
principal amount of taxes owed, attorneys' fees, and
process server fees. The trial court did not award the City
any penalties or prejudgment interest.
City filed a motion to reconsider the judgment, requesting
that the trial court award penalties and prejudgment interest
pursuant to section 68-394(a) of the City's ordinances.
The trial court denied the City's motion to reconsider.
timely appeal follows.
in any court-tried case, the judgment will be affirmed unless
there is no substantial evidence to support it, it is against
the weight of the evidence, or it erroneously declares or
applies the law." City of Kansas City v.
Garnett, 482 S.W.3d 829, 831 (Mo. App. W.D. 2016).
"It is the appellant's burden on appeal to
demonstrate that the trial court's judgment was incorrect
on any basis supported by the record and the applicable
law." State ex rel. Nixon v. Koonce, ...