Ex-county executive apparently loses pension over felony
CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) — An ordinance passed by the St. Louis County Council means that former Executive Steve Stenger apparently won’t collect a county pension now that he’s a convicted felon.
The council voted 5-0 Tuesday in favor of an ordinance preventing any elected official from getting a county pension if convicted of a felony committed while serving in an official role. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Republican Tim Fitch, who introduced the ordinance, believes it affects Stenger because it takes effect before his sentencing Friday in a federal pay-to-play case.
Stenger, a Democrat, was indicted in April . He resigned that same day and pleaded guilty four days later. He could face nearly four years in prison. Two other county executives and a businessman also pleaded guilty in the scheme.
Before the vote Tuesday, Fitch read into the record Stenger’s expletive-laced comments captured by a wire in the federal investigation, in which he bragged about winning re-election in November without doing anything but sitting at home and raising money for his campaign.
“I believe this is an individual who does not deserve to have his pension,” Fitch said.
Stenger would have started receiving $1,660 a month in March 2032, after his 60th birthday. That would have increased to $1,963 a month on March 1, 2037, after he turns 65.
“This will send a message to anyone in the future who may consider committing the number of felonies that he did to not do that or their pension would be at risk,” Fitch said.
Stenger, in his guilty plea, admitted to a scheme in which favors such as county contracts were promised in exchange for campaign donations. Others who have pleaded guilty include Stenger’s chief of staff, Bill Miller; businessman John Rallo, who donated to Stenger’s campaign with the expectation that his companies would benefit; and Sheila Sweeney, whom Stenger appointed as head of the county’s economic development agency.
St. Louis County, with 1 million residents, is Missouri’s largest political jurisdiction.
Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com