Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway announced on May 17 that her office will accept the St. Louis County Council’s request to conduct an audit of county government following federal charges against former County Executive Steve Stenger and others.
Galloway said the audit will be done by the Public Corruption and Fraud Division of her office. The St. Louis County Port Authority and the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership will also be included in the audit. The former executive director of the development partnership, Sheila Sweeney, pleaded guilty to federal charges for her role in the Stenger illegal activity.
Galloway said her department will meet with the council to determine what other entities should be subject to review.
“The information that has come to light about the actions of Steve Stenger and his administration are deeply troubling,” said Galloway, who came to St. Louis County to announce the audit. “In the wake of these disturbing allegations, my office will focus our audit work on county practices relating to contracting and procurement.”
The state will conduct forensic and performance audits which will be turned over to law enforcement if possible criminal activity is found.
Galloway said the initial field work for the audit will start in June, but the time frame for the full audit is not yet known. Auditor representatives will be meeting with council officials in the coming weeks to discuss the specifics and the scope of the audit work.
“We don’t know what else we will find in this audit until we begin the work,” Galloway said. “We will be tough, and we will be thorough so we can get answers for taxpayers.”
The council unanimously requested a state audit earlier this month. The request came after Stenger pleaded guilty to public corruption for steering county contracts to campaign donors.
St. Louis Economic Development Partnership Chairman Karlos Ramirez said in a statement that the partnership looks forward to working with Galloway.
"In January, we named Rodney Crim interim CEO and began a comprehensive review of our organization. As a result of the review, we have made changes to improve transparency and ensure fair and equitable policies and practices," Ramirez said.
"As a board, we remain committed to the mission of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, which is to attract, retain and facilitate the growth of businesses in the St. Louis region."
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Reprinted with permission from news.stlpublicradio.org.