St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger

(KMOX/file photo)

Council Members Want the FBI and Mo AG to Investigate Northwest Plaza/Stenger Deal

Stenger says several council members also received campaign contributions

June 20, 2018 - 10:28 am

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - The St. Louis county council wants law enforcement to take a look at whether county executive Steve Stenger is using county contracts to enrich campaign contributors.

The council voted 5-nothing, with one abstention, to adopt an ethics committee report which questions how campaign contributions from the developer of the Crossings at Northwest Plaza may have swayed Stenger’s decision to sign a lease uprooting several county departments.

“Due to the use of federal and state funds to pay much of the county’s cost at Northwest Crossings, the council should refer this matter to the United States attorney for the eastern district of Missouri and the Attorney General for the state of Missouri for full and complete investigations,” says councilman Ernie Trakas.

Trakas even suggested pulling out of the development.

“There are still many unanswered questions: the unique manner of the negotiations, the length and onerous terms of the Northwest Crossings leases, viewed in context with the size and timing of campaign contributions from Northwest Crossings developers to County Executive Steve Stenger cause great concern,” Trakas says.


Stenger was not at the meeting. In an interview with Charlie Brennan following the meeting, Stenger clarified that he did not personally negotiate the lease for Northwest Plaza, but rather worked with a team of lawyers.

He says the lease is comparable to other recent leases in the area, and one of his main goals was to bring jobs to the county.

“We wanted to help out the area, we wanted to bring jobs, and that’s exactly what it’s done. 2800 jobs. At this point there’s over 30 employers generates 328 million in annual revenue and it’s something that we’re very proud of,” he says.

Stenger also points out that the council approved the matter two years ago, saying they had access to all the same information.  In regards to contributions made to his campaign by the developers, Stenger says all money was “publicly and lawfully received” both before and after lease negotiations, and also that the developers have made contributions to other members of local government as well.