Monday, April 19, 2021

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger resigns after indictment for bribery scheme


St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger resigned Monday after he was indicted on charges of bribery, mail fraud and the theft of honest services. Stenger, who was elected to a second term in November, is accused of ensuring a donor’s companies obtained contracts with the county and received other favors.

According to CBS affiliate KMOV-TV, a 44-page indictment details what prosecutors call a scheme to defraud and deprive the county’s citizens. It focuses on Stenger’s dealings with John Rallo, who started a company called Cardinal Insurance.

Prosecutors said Rallo made several contributions to Stenger’s campaign dating back to 2014. Donations were made with “the understanding from Stenger that in exchange he would help Rallo and Cardinal Insurance get insurance contracts with St. Louis County and, ultimate, help Rallo get a consulting contract with the St. Louis County Port Authority.”

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At one point, the indictment details the two men discussing a possible consulting contract, which was awarded to Rallo’s company. Throughout their communications, Stenger continued to solicit political donations.

Last month, the county was served a subpoena for a federal investigation into Stenger’s administration. The county had to produce all texts, notes and phone records between Stenger and county employees regarding the county’s contracts. Two members of his administration announced their resignations over the past few weeks.

Stenger has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, KMOV reports.

If convicted, Stenger could face up to 20 years in prison on each count. The St. Louis County Council is expected to vote on a new County Executive at an emergency meeting Monday.

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