ST. LOUIS — Three former St. Louis aldermen, including the longtime board president, will go to prison for accepting bribes from a businessman. They all face years behind bars and thousands of dollars in fines. Mayor Tishaura Jones says that the city is taking steps to make sure something like this does not happen again.
The sentences handed down Tuesday in federal court ended a three-year investigation. The businessman provided bribes in exchange for tax breaks and a reduced rate in obtaining a city-owned property. Federal officials have not named the businessman but the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported he is facing his own federal charges.
Mayor Jones says that the city is taking steps to be more transparent. The sale of Land Reutilization Authority properties has been paused for the remainder of the year. The sale of one of those properties was at the center of the corruption investigation.
The mayor posted this statement to Facebook today.
“A federal court held Jeffrey Boyd, John Collins-Muhammad, and Lewis Reed accountable for the pain they have caused our communities.
These crimes have victims: Their families, who are suffering; their constituents, whose interests they put aside in pursuit of personal profit; and our entire city, which was shaken by the brazenness of the trio’s corruption.
City agencies have already taken steps to reform past practices and increase transparency in development work to help prevent abuse in the future. LRA halted sales for the remainder of the year while it addressed its internal procedures, and SLDC is creating a development scorecard for incentives to make this process more clear to the public.
We have more work to do. In electing President Megan Green, St. Louisans have emphasized the need to break from the past, which includes reforming our development incentive process to make it more community-driven, transparent, and free of conflicts of interest. I look forward to working with her, the full board, and Comptroller Green to restore trust and integrity to city government.”
Former aldermanic President Lewis Reed was sentenced to nearly four years in prison on two bribery-related charges. Reed also was fined $18,500.
Former Alderman Jeffrey L. Boyd was sentenced to three years in prison for bribery, wire fraud and insurance fraud. He was fined nearly $24,000.
Former Alderman John Collins-Muhammad was sentenced to nearly four years in prison and fined $19,500 for bribery and fraud crimes.
All three men are Democrats who were indicted in May and pleaded guilty in August.
“The victims here — the 300,000 residents of the city of St. Louis — expect their elected officials to do their jobs honestly and honorably, not line their pockets and swap official actions for cash,” U.S. Attorney Sayler A. Fleming said in a news release.