Political News: St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger resigns following Federal Grand Jury indictment in Pay To Play Scheme

St. Louis, Missouri (STL.News) – St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger resigned on Monday after being indicted on federal charges in a so-called pay to play scheme.  A federal Grand Jury indicted Stenger on charges of bribery, mail fraud, and the theft of honest services.   The indictment alleges Stenger provided political favors in exchange for campaign donations. The United States Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Missouri released the following statement: The Indictment alleges that beginning in October 2014 and continuing through December 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.  The purpose of the scheme was for Stenger to secretly use his official position to enrich himself through soliciting and accepting campaign contributions from individuals and their companies in exchange for favorable official action, and for individuals and their companies to enrich themselves and their companies by secretly obtaining favorable action for themselves and for their companies, through corrupt means. Specifically, the Indictment alleges 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 took official action to insure that John Rallo and his company, Wellston Holdings, LLC, obtained options to purchase two properties in Wellston, Missouri 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 . The Indictment alleges that Stenger took steps to hide, conceal and cover up his illegal conduct and actions, including making false public statements. Stenger appeared for his arraignment hearing on Monday afternoon with his high profile defense attorney, Scott Rosenblum.  Stenger pleaded not guilty and was released on his own recognizance. Prior to the hearing, Rosenblum dodged questions from the press as he and Stenger walked into the Thomas F. Eagleton Courthouse.  However, Rosenblum briefly took questions from reporters after the hearing. “This was not a surprise to us. We have been in touch with United States Attorney’s Office for quite awhile. We plan to orchestrate our next move from there.” Rosenblum said. Stenger declined to comment on questions from reporters. If convicted, each charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Restitution is also mandatory.