St. Louis County Executive Indicted for Pay to Play Scheme
St. Louis, MO – Steven V. Stenger, of Clayton, was indicted last Thursday on three counts of honest services bribery/mail fraud.
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 is scheduled to appear at 1:00 p.m. for his initial appearance and arraignment on his Indictment before U.S. Magistrate Noelle Collins, Courtroom 15 North, Thomas F. Eagleton Courthouse, 111 S. 10th Street, St. Louis, Missouri.
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.
As is always the case, charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This 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.