ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — A north St. Louis County politician was ousted after it was revealed that she didn’t pay some of her taxes. Citizens, however, said she refused to step down until FOX 2 got involved.
It’s the law in Missouri. You must pay your taxes, or you cannot hold office. Missouri’s Department of Revenue disqualified Pine Lawn’s Carla Walker for violating the law, yet we found her walking into City Hall Friday.
Pine Lawn resident Barbara Chapman did not know Walker had been disqualified. She told FOX 2 that her immediate reaction to the news was: “That’s impossible because she just was at a meeting.”
“(Walker) said she’s an alderperson and that they’re working a couple of projects in Ward 1,” Chapman continued.
Chapman learned of Walker’s disqualification later when two other alderpeople said they couldn’t get Walker to step down per the State’s order.
“Just give up the seat and leave and be done with it – or pay the taxes and be fine with it,” said Alderman Gerald Metts.
Alderwoman Regina Gathright even took a picture of Carla Walker doing business inside City Hall last week. She took the picture inside the City Clerk’s office, where only city officials are allowed.
“If you’ve been told and you know that you’re not an alderperson, why are you still conducting business as an alderperson?” Gathright said.
The Department of Revenue warned Walker with a letter in February 2022. The agency then followed up in March with a letter that said, in part, “Carla Walker did not resolve her delinquency.”
St. Louis County Director of Elections Eric Fey explained what happened next.
“If it’s late enough in the process, and in this case it was, the name is still on the ballot. We just don’t count those votes,” Fey said. “This is probably a first. There was nobody else that signed up to run in that Ward. So, it just shows basically no ballots cast for that office.”
Walker kept showing up for work and representing herself as an alderwoman after this, according to Chapman, Metts, and Gathright. FOX 2 wanted to know what Pine Lawn leaders would say. We found them apparently unaware as we walked into City Hall Friday asking for the names of alderpeople in Ward 1. Those in charge told us, “Carla Walker.”
After informing city leaders on the law, Alderpersons Gathright and Metts said Pine Lawn has now announced Walker’s seat is vacant.
“They finally acknowledged it,” Gathright said. “I just thank you, and I think the only way it was put on the agenda is because you guys got involved.”
Metts added: “I’m happy that she’s gone now.”
FOX 2 never could get a response from now-former Alderwoman Walker – not even with our personal visit to City Hall. It’s unclear what taxes Walker has refused to pay as the Department of Revenue doesn’t specify its findings in its action letters.