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Former Stenger chief of staff sentenced to 15 months

September 6, 2019

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The top aide for former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger was sentenced Friday to 15 months in federal prison for helping Stenger carry out his pay-for-play scheme.

Bill Miller, Stenger’s chief of staff, pleaded guilty in May to theft of honest services through bribery and wire fraud. He is among four people who have pleaded guilty in the case.

Stenger, a Democrat, was sentenced last month to nearly four years in prison and fined $250,000. He pleaded guilty in May to corruption charges for providing political favors in exchange for campaign donations.

The county’s former economic development agency chief, Sheila Sweeney , was sentenced to probation and fined $20,000 for her role in the scheme. Businessman John Rallo faces sentencing Oct. 15 for bribery.

Miller must serve three years of probation after his sentence.

Miller, 54, admitted pressuring Sweeney to renew a state lobbying contract with the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership with a company and its owner who donated $59,000 to Stenger. The company and owner weren’t identified in court documents.

Stenger’s activities had been under investigation for well over a year by the FBI, IRS and U.S. Postal Service. The county council was conducting its own ethics investigation, and reports by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch also focused on Stenger’s activities.

The county executive is the top elected official in St. Louis County, Missouri’s largest county with about 1 million residents.

Stenger admitting taking actions to ensure that county contracts went to two Rallo-owned companies — Cardinal Insurance and Cardinal Creative Consulting — and ensuring that Rallo’s Wellston Holdings LLC obtained options to buy two properties held by the county’s Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority.

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