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St. Louis County gets federal subpoena for crime lab contracts

St. Louis County gets federal subpoena for crime lab contracts


CLAYTON • Federal officials have delivered a subpoena for a long list of St. Louis County records regarding a controversial construction contract for a new crime lab here.

The subpoena, addressed Aug. 16 to the St. Louis County custodian of records, shows that the FBI is moving forward on county Police Chief Tim Fitch’s request for a federal inquiry.

   Gregory Sansone

Fitch has said in the past that he was concerned about whether it was proper for a company co-owned by Gregory Sansone, chairman of the St. Louis County Police Board, to be doing millions of dollars in work on the lab at police headquarters.

Sources said county government officials had warned employees not to discuss the subpoena with reporters, warning that they could face prosecution or dismissal.

In a copy of the subpoena obtained by the Post-Dispatch, federal prosecutors demand hundreds of documents dating to Jan. 1, 2011, including any correspondence among St. Louis County employees and Sansone or his heating and cooling company, SM Mechanical.

The subpoena also seeks any correspondence among county employees and Fitch. The county was told to comply by Sept. 4, when the matter is to come before a grand jury.

Part of the project uses federal Build America bonds, which provide state and local governments with a subsidy for a portion of their borrowing costs.

A spokesman for County Executive Charlie A. Dooley declined to comment Wednesday.

Fitch had no comment on whether a subpoena had been served.

At issue is a $3.7 million subcontract for heating and ventilation work given by the lab’s general contractor to SM Mechanical.

The county — not the five-member police board — hired the general contractor, ICS Construction, to oversee the $9.1 million project. SM Mechanical’s subcontract is for about 40 percent of that.

Dooley and County Counselor Patricia Redington have previously said there is no impropriety because the general contractor — not the county — hired SM mechanical.

Sansone has denied any wrongdoing. He was appointed by Dooley to the board in 2009.

The Post-Dispatch first reported the circumstances Aug. 7.

A day or so later, Fitch went to the FBI with what he said then was unspecified “new information” beyond what the newspaper reported.

Robert Patrick of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.

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Christine Byers is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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