Former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger Sentenced To Prison For “Pay-to-Play” Scheme

By on August 12, 2019

From South County Times:  Former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger was sentenced in federal court Friday, Aug. 9, to 46 months in prison, a $250,000 fine, three years’ supervised release, $130,000 restitution and a $300 special assessment related to his guilty pleas to three felony counts of honest services bribery/mail fraud.

“Steve Stenger abused his power as an elected official to benefit himself,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Richard Quinn of the FBI St. Louis Division. “Had the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office not stopped Stenger from misusing taxpayer dollars for his personal gain, he would have continued to run St. Louis County into the ground. He will now have years in federal prison to reflect on the cost of his greed.”

According to court documents and statements made in court, beginning in October 2014, before he was elected as the county executive, and continuing through Dec. 31, 2018, Stenger engaged in a systemic scheme to “defraud and deprive the citizens of St. Louis County of their right to his honest and faithful services by soliciting and accepting bribes in exchange for county contracts and grants.”

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 his favorable official action in issuing government contracts and grants to those political donors, according to court documents.

Stenger directed members of his executive staff, including his chief of staff and chief of policy, and various other high-level county employees to take steps to ensure that his political donors would win in the bidding process for various county contracts.

In doing so, other companies who expected a level playing field in the county’s bidding process were victimized, as were the roughly one million residents of St. Louis County.

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