BRIDGETON, Mo. — FOX 2 obtained an audio recording in which a politician says he lived in Illinois while representing citizens in Missouri.
In a recorded hearing, Andrew Purcell answered where he really lived while getting paid to represent citizens in Bridgeton as a councilman. It’s worse than taxpayers feared.
Our exclusive reporting began Wednesday when Bridgeton Mayor Terry Briggs first told us about the problem saying, “Is that like stealing? You’re only supposed to be paid if you continue to serve.”
Briggs recently learned Purcell wasn’t living in the area he was being paid to serve. The mayor learned of a November 2021 voter registration, showing Purcell registered to vote in Carterville, Illinois, and stopped showing up for his council meetings at about that same time.
“That’s one of the things we’re investigating right now,” said Briggs. “The police officers are going over to Illinois where he established another residence just to verify that he did establish that residence.”
It turns out Purcell, who still appears on a pre-printed 2022 Bridgeton calendar, was simultaneously trying to run for Williamson County commissioner 140 miles away.
When election authorities there learned Purcell was already a Bridgeton councilman, Purcell tried to defend himself in an electoral board meeting. FOX 2 obtained the audio of Purcell saying in his own words where he’s really lived.
“My argument would be that the appropriate remedy should not be to take me off the ballot here in Williamson County, but the appropriate remedy should be in Bridgeton, Missouri,” said Purcell. “It is my contention, under oath, that I am a resident of Williamson County and have been since March 1 of 2021”
Purcell said the proof is in a utility bill from March 2021, with an address on Timber Trail in Carterville, Illinois, and a signed lease agreement dated March 1, 2021.
Purcell continued during the hearing, “Look, I am a resident of Williamson County. I have been for more than a year preceding the election, and while there may be an ethical dilemma between me sitting on that board while I’m not living in Bridgeton, I think that’s a remedy for Bridgeton and that’s not grounds to remove me from the ballot here in Williamson County.”
Purcell admits on the audio he never resigned his position as Bridgeton Councilman, continuing to draw a $500 a month salary that would add up to about $6000 during that time. The Williamson County election board did not allow him on the ballot there. Andrew Purcell has not picked up any of my ten phone calls to his cell phone, which has included several voicemail messages.
Our next stop appears to be where he says he says he lives in Carterville, Illinois.