St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of bribery, mail fraud and theft of honest services. The indictment alleges Stenger of providing political favors in exchange for campaign donations.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting Stenger’s attorney, Scott Rosenblum, saying Stenger has also resigned as county executive. The newspaper says Stenger has been a target of a U.S. government investigation into pay-for-play allegations.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the indictment made public today alleges that from October 2014 to Dec. 31, 2018, “Stenger and various individuals and companies schemed to defraud and deprive the citizens of St. Louis County of their right to his honest and faithful services, and the honest and faithful services of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership’s Chief Executive Officer, through bribery and the concealment of material information.”
It claims that Stenger, in exchange for campaign donations and several fundraising events, took official action to insure that John Rallo and his company, Cardinal Insurance, obtained insurance contracts through St. Louis County during 2015 and 2016. Further, the indictment alleges that Stenger took official action to insure that John Rallo and his company, Cardinal Creative Consulting, obtained a 2016 consulting contract through the St. Louis County Port Authority. Additionally, Stenger reportedly took official action to insure that John Rallo and his company, Wellston Holdings, LLC, obtained options to purchase two properties in Wellston, which were held by the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority of St. Louis County during 2016 and 2017. The indictment also alleges that Stenger, in exchange for campaign donations and fundraising activities, took official action to insure that “Company One,” as set forth in the indictment, obtained a 2019 – 2021 state lobbying contract from the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. It claims that Stenger took steps to hide, conceal and cover up his illegal conduct and actions, including making false public statements.
If convicted, each charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Restitution is also mandatory. In determining the actual sentences, a judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.
The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Postal Inspection Service with the assistance of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Goldsmith is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Stenger is scheduled to be arraigned at 1 p.m. this afternoon in a federal court in St. Louis.