Political advisors, now working with Mark Mantovani, accused of helping mislead public on Stenger mall deal

Ed Rhode and Jane Dueker are named in the documents

Alex Degman
July 24, 2020 - 9:15 pm

(Kevin Killeen, KMOX)

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ST. ANN (KMOX) -- St. Louis County Councilman Ernie Trakas says two political advisors helping Mark Mantovani in his County Executive election bid are under investigation for allegedly helping mislead the public about a questionable deal to lease space in St. Ann's Northwest Plaza for county office space -- a deal pushed through by convicted former County Executive Steve Stenger.

Trakas says the council has already looked into several Stenger associates -- and now he's looking into what roles Ed Rhode and Jane Dueker -- Dueker is a part-time KMOX contributor to the Friday Reardon Roundtable -- might have played.

"This action was brought on by their actions and the choices they made in potentially assisting Steve Stenger in misleading the council and defrauding taxpayers of millions of dollars.," Trakas said in a statement.

An affidavit from Paul Kreidler, St. Louis County's Director of Performance Management and Budget, recalls a meeting in 2018 to determine the "source and validity" of the claim that the lease at Northwest Plaza would save the county $10 million over 20 years. 

"When we first met, it was determined none of the participants had any documents from Anthony Badino (the point person on the lease) detailing the savings estimate (Mr. Badino was no longer employed by the County). Nor could anyone state how, generally, the savings was calculated."

He says they eventually figured out the county could save $2.2 million over 10 years if 2017's tax bill were included, and that assumed taxes wouldn't go up.

"This activity concluded February 1, 2018," Kreidler continued. "On this date, Jane Dueker (and possibly others but I cannot recall) coached Bill Miller on how best to present this analysis to Jeremy Kohler of the Post-Dispatch 'on background' to support the county executive's narrative."

Bill Miller, sentenced to 15 months last September, is Stenger's former Chief of Staff.

"Councilman Trakas' letter is a desperate attempt to help Sam Page's flailing [County Executive] campaign because Page settled and paid off the victim of Ernie Trakas' sexual harrassment," Dueker said in part in a statement. "...Attacking women is what Councilman Trakas does and he has been exposed. Numerous county employees have informed me of his obsession with me and his unbridled rage."

"I will be retaining counsel to redress his illegal behavior and the County will again have to spend taxpayer dollars dealing with Trakas' repeated and revolting abuse of women," Dueker continued, noting that Trakas using his office to silence political opposition is illegal.

Rhode told the Post-Dispatch he has no interest in gaining influence in St. Louis County government and the PAC working on behalf of Mantovani revealed Trakas' sexual harrassment cover up, and Trakas is simply mad about that.

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