ST. LOUIS – St. Louis City NAACP President Adolphus Pruitt sent a letter Tuesday to the US Attorney’s office, the FBI, and to multiple individuals within the St. Louis County Executive’s office, calling for a thorough investigation into African-American businesses being excluded from county contracts under Steve Stenger’s administration.
“When you look at last four-year period, St. Louis Country expended over $109 million in federally assisted projects,” Pruitt said. “Out of $109 million, minority participation hovered close to four percent.”
Pruitt said any federally-assisted projects may have involved the misuse of the good faith effort in awarding contracts. He said the percentage should be closer to 14.9 percent for minorities and six percent for women just on the contracting side.
“We've been for years getting complaints from African-American employees that they are passed over for promotions or not considered at all,” he said.
Pruitt said African-American salaries are lower compared to their counterparts. While Stenger’s tenure in office ended in guilty pleas and prison time, Pruitt said it opened up the possibility of something criminal if anyone did not adhere to rules in place under Board Bill 350.
“There are many factors that bill required the county implement (in order) to level the playing field and those things have not been implemented today,” Pruitt said.
He wants the county to investigate all notes and information of bids processed under Stenger and to hand over the documentation.
“We don't have any faith those good faith efforts included minorities with contracted spending happened to any degree,” Pruitt said.
African-American businesses from all around the St. Louis-area may have been affected by these bid practices, Pruitt said.
Fox 2 reached out to St. Louis County Executive Sam Page for his reaction but he did not respond as of Tuesday afternoon.