A blistering report has found that weak oversight contributed to a pay-to-play scandal that led to the downfall of St. Louis County's former top elected official.
CLAYTON — A blistering report has found that weak oversight contributed to a pay-to-play scandal that led to the downfall of St. Louis County's former top elected official.
Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway's staff presented a draft of the audit Tuesday to the St. Louis County Council during a closed-door meeting. The council has 30 days to respond to the findings, which the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has obtained. The final report is scheduled to be issued this fall.
Steve Stenger, the former Democratic St. Louis County executive, pleaded guilty in May 2019 to federal corruption charges for providing political favors, including a county contract, in exchange for campaign donations.
The draft audit found the St. Louis County Council, under then-Chairman Sam Page, lacking in its oversight. Page succeeded Stenger as county executive. The report also blamed the county auditor for failures that enabled Stenger's schemes.
Page's chief of staff, Winston Calvert, said in a statement, "We knew county government needed to be reformed and we have worked to do that in the past year. We are grateful for the state auditor's help identifying more work to be done."
As for the council's oversight, Calvert said it was the leadership of Page that "helped bring down a corrupt Stenger administration."