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Letter: Clayton is benefiting little from Centene’s presence

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Centene planned expansion brings concern

Office and residential buildings adjacent to the Ritz-Carlton hotel are seen reflected in the windows of Centene Plaza in Clayton on Monday, June 6, 2016. In 2016, Centene Corp. was pitching a $770 million expansion of its headquarters including a 200-room hotel near South Hanley Road and Forsyth Boulevard.

Regarding “Why does Centene own Ritz-Carlton in Clayton? Health care giant says it’s just business” (June 11): Clayton mayor Michelle Harris says of Centene, “They’re a company with integrity.” I believe that is the last thing the company is.

Centene makes exorbitant profits off the backs of poorer individuals while garnering millions in property tax subsidies. Now it asks for another $75 million abatement from Clayton and the state. That is conditioned on an increase of the number of employees who will never live in Clayton, pay property taxes to the city, nor spend in retail outlets.

Clayton citizens get no financial reward from having Centene’s headquarters there. All they get in return are two high-rise white elephants to further ruin the horizons of Clayton’s once pristine residential neighborhoods, where I grew up. The Ritz-Carlton purchase is a secret waiting to be fully revealed for its real intent. And it will not be bathed in integrity, I suspect.

Laurence C. Day • Ladue

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