Advertisements

The St Louis Contrarian

Providing Independent and Intelligent Insight on St. Louis Public Policy Issues

Archive for the tag “Sheila Sweeney”

County Economic Development Partnership Defies County Council

The St. Louis County Economic Development Partnership did not show up for hearings looking into questionable contracting practices and favoritism. Interestingly, the FBI may be involved in investigations.

I have written before about what a cesspool this organization is. The Post-Dispatch pointed out that a friend of Stenger’s was pushed on the Lemay Housing Partnership even though he was a convicted felon. This whole story is getting quite interesting. Attached is a copy of the Post article. Written by Paul Dribin

com


Facebook


Twitter



Email


Print

Save

CLAYTON • Members of the St. Louis County Council said Tuesday they may issue subpoenas in their investigation of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership and St. Louis County Port Authority, after representatives of those groups did not show up Tuesday afternoon for the council’s ethics hearing.

And two members of the council suggested in an open meeting that the federal government may be looking into the agencies, as well.

The council has been investigating the agencies’ procurement policies and real estate transactions after Post-Dispatch stories raising questions about their contracting procedures. The Port Authority controls a significant pot of money derived from annual lease payments of some $5 million from the River City Casino in Lemay. It is staffed by the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership.

Council members Ernie Trakas and Sam Page said in comments during the meeting that each had been told by sources that about two weeks ago, Sheila Sweeney, the partnership’s chief executive officer, enlisted county police officers to check out a vehicle tailing her.

“When St. Louis County police stopped the subject vehicle, they were advised that the occupants were, in fact, federal agents,” Trakas said. Page said he’d heard the same thing.

Pressed by several reporters after the meeting, neither Trakas nor Page would reveal their sources. Each said he had just one source; Page said he did not think they were the same person. Trakas said his source was “impeccable” but that he had “assured the person who told me that his identity was safe with me.” Asked how close his source was to the information, Trakas said he was “not going to go there.”

In a brief interview as he left a meeting in progress, County Executive Steve Stenger said about Trakas’ claim: “I don’t think so. I don’t think that’s the case. I think we would have heard about that. I don’t think that’s correct.”

Cordell Whitlock, a Stenger spokesman, noted that his boss is facing a Democratic primary race against challenger Mark Mantovani on Aug. 7. He said it was “highly irresponsible two weeks before an election for (Trakas) to just throw that out there and throw Sheila under the bus like that.”

Neither Sweeney nor the partnership’s spokeswoman, Katy Jamboretz, could be reached for comment. U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen did not respond to a text request for comment.

The allegations of a federal probe came at the council’s regular meeting, hours after the council’s ethics committee had held its second hearing into the partnership and port. The committee had invited six members of the port authority to testify.

One of those board members, Greg Hayden, told the Post-Dispatch last week that he had agreed to testify about $50,000 the port gave to a nonprofit housing organization in Lemay to hire a friend of Stenger for a marketing contract. But Hayden didn’t show, and in a brief phone call, directed a reporter to his attorney, Jim Wyrsch, who declined to comment.

The rest of the Port Authority got lawyers, too. Charles W. Hatfield, with Stinson Leonard Street, wrote a letter on Friday to Trakas, the ethics committee chairman, saying the port’s six board members had other commitments, and needed “more clarity” about the investigation’s purpose. An inquiry into the port’s “operations and practices” would be “extremely broad,” Hatfield wrote.

Hatfield’s colleague, Andrew Scavotto, appeared at the ethics hearing and told council members that the Port Authority wanted to talk to the council in an “appropriate forum.”

Several council members responded that any discussion should be held in public.

“The committee invited your clients, sir, to appear,” Trakas told Scavotto. “It’s my understanding based on Mr. Hatfield’s letter that your advice was for them not to appear. … I think this is an appropriate forum, sir. I think you and your firm are the only ones that don’t.”

The Post-Dispatch reported last week that after the Lemay Housing Partnership saw its funding cut by two-thirds in 2016, its board chairman met with Hayden and an assistant to Stenger. Stenger recommended the organization hire the husband of his former legislative aide, even though he had just finished probation for two counts of stealing from a campaign.

The council has also said it wants to know more about a land deal with Stenger donors in Wellston, the failed effort to build a St. Louis Blues practice facility in Creve Coeur Lake Park, and land transfers for a police substation in south St. Louis County.

Page said he is also seeking records related to a $422,000 infrastructure consulting contract the Port Authority awarded to Accenture, a project that also paid out $50,000 in associated legal fees to the law firm of Stenger donor Bob Blitz.

Whether the port authority board even exists remained an open question on Tuesday. Last week, the council voted 6-1 to override a Stenger veto on a bill requiring the removal of any member of the county {span id=”0.8800033719184834” class=”currentHitHighlight”}port {span id=”0.5504816958906129” class=”highlight”} authority whose term has expired. That would be all six of the members, but Stenger said the charter allows board members to retain their seats until replacements are appointed.

On Tuesday, Page called for legislation that would allow the County Council to name its own port board members.


Facebook


Twitter




Email


Print

Save

Advertisements

Investigation of St. Louis County Economic Council

www.stltoday.com/business/local/county-council-launches-ethics-probe-of-economic-development-partnership-port/article_efc116c2-c165-5919-bb1a-40da4f3b7a46.html

I am happy to see this investigation. I have been harping on the crooked nature of this organization for some time. With other scandals brewing it was not getting enough attention. Written by Paul Dribin

Economic Development Council Stuff

www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/documents-raise-questions-about-st-louis-economic-development-partnership-bidding/article_62479314-52a5-5481-b6c7-759c93f63cf5.html

An article from Post online showing that investigations are underway about the contracting procedures used by Sheila Sweeney and Economic Development Council. I have been complaining about this for awhile.

Steve Stenger, Sheila Sweeney

I am glad the St. Louis County Council is attempting to investigate both these people. Stenger of course made some crooked real estate deals with cronies of his. Sweeney enables this bad behavior with her work at the Economic Development Council. That organization has too many people with high salaries who do not accomplish much. Sheila though seems to act on whatever crooked action Stenger wants. Written by Paul Dribin

Post Navigation