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Key players in the federal indictment of County Executive Steve Stenger

Key players in the federal indictment of County Executive Steve Stenger

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Sheila Sweeney

St. Louis Econmic Development Patnership holds special meeting

CEO of the St. Louis Economic Development Sheila Sweeney speaks during a special meeting of the Partnership board on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019, at the Pierre Laclede Center in Clayton. Photo by Laurie Skrivan, lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

Sweeney, a longtime member of the St. Louis County Port Authority board, became head of the St. Louis Economic Development partnership in August 2015 at Stenger’s recommendation. Her staff oversaw the St. Louis County Port Authority and St. Louis County Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority, which awarded two contracts detailed in the Stenger indictment. The Partnership board forced her out in January after the Post-Dispatch reported that Stenger essentially ran the office through Sweeney.

John Rallo

John Rallo

John Rallo

Rallo worked in insurance but his family had made a name for itself in St. Louis in the construction industry decades ago. Rallo was introduced to Stenger in October 2014, during Stenger’s successful campaign for St. Louis County Executive. There, he agreed to donate thousands of dollars to Stenger in exchange for Stenger’s help winning his insurance firm county contracts. While the insurance contracts did not work out, Rallo would later win a $130,000 marketing contract from the St. Louis County Port Authority and he and partners would win a contract to buy two large pieces of real estate in Wellston owned by the St. Louis County Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority.

Sorkis Webbe Jr.

Sorkis Webbe Jr. speaks about life after prison in 1991

Sorkis Webbe Jr. speaking at an interview about his life since he was released from prison for a Post-Dispatch article published on March 27, 1991. He served five years for voting fraud.

Photo by Robert LaRouche, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

A fundraiser for Stenger and a longtime friend of Rallo, Webbe introduced the two at Sam’s Steakhouse in south St. Louis County in October 2014. Webbe, identified in the indictment only as “SW,” is a former St. Louis alderman who in 1986 was sentenced to prison as part of an investigation into the awarding of a cable television franchise. In 2015, Webbe attended a meeting with Sweeney and Rallo about the Port Authority contract. He later was paid $12,000 from Rallo’s Port Authority contract as a reward for introducing Rallo to Stenger, according to the indictment. Webbe declined to comment on that, saying he had many business relationships with Rallo and had not read the indictment.

John Cross

Identified in the indictment only as “JC,” sources tell the Post-Dispatch it is John Cross. Sweeney increased Rallo’s Port Authority contract to $130,000 from $100,000 in order to pay Cross for efforts supporting Stenger during the 2014 election. He was ultimately paid $25,000 from the contract, according to the indictment.

Corey Christanell

Corey Christanell

Corey Christanell

Rallo introduced his business partner, Christanell, to Stenger on May 4, 2016. Christanell, who is not named in the indictment, gave Stenger a $10,000 contribution. He and Rallo would give Stenger about $50,000 total from 2014 through 2018. Christanell and Rallo were two of the members of a company that in 2017 bought two large industrial parks from the St. Louis County Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority, which is staffed by the Partnership.

Jeff Wagener

Jeff Wagener

Jeff Wagener

A top Stenger policy adviser, Wagener is a member of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership board and often relayed Stenger’s directives to Sweeney, according to the indictment. He was one of the Stenger officials who was part of a pressure campaign in late 2018 to get Sweeney to approve a lobbying contract with John Bardgett & Associates.

Bill Miller

Miller was Stenger’s chief of staff from December 2017 until this month, when he resigned. A former official in Gov. Jay Nixon’s administration, he sits on the Economic Development Partnership board and was part of the effort to pressure Sweeney into renewing the contract for John Bardgett & Associates.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger's fall: Some background reading

Here's a collection of Post-Dispatch stories looking at some of the controversies surrounding former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger.

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