James Ingram

Fresh from pleading guilty to federal wire fraud charges, East St. Louis Township Supervisor Oliver Hamilton strolled from the ESL U.S. District Court building with a big, dumb grin on his face.

It was dumb because no sane person would have the audacity to grin after conceding that he is, in fact, a crook who used his position to exploit thousands of ESL residents, 47 percent of whom live in poverty.

Further, it conveys and reflects a lack of contrition and shame for betraying the trust of his impoverished constituents. But, when one is a poverty pimp, the grin could easily be construed as a smug display of arrogance and lack of remorse, particularly given that his sentence could amount to nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

Records reveal that from 2012-2016 Hamilton used his ESL Township’s American Express card to run up a personal tab of over $230,000 on everything from Las Vegas trips to $3,000 in car washes, auto detailing and oil changes to gas for his Chevy Silverado, as well as for restaurants, gifts, flowers and building materials (Hamilton owns a construction company).

However, when Hamilton appeared before U.S. District Judge Michael Reagan, he was informed that he faced a maximum of 20 years in prison, three years parole and a $250,000 fine. Yet, sentencing guidelines call for (wait for it) a year to 18 months.

But, given the fact that Hamilton’s guilty plea comes as a part of a federal plea agreement and that both the federal prosecutor and Hamilton’s attorney Clyde Kuehn have recommended a sentence of a year and a day that will, most likely (and unfortunately) be his fate.

It’s all up to the discretion of Judge Reagan, but “poli-tricks” in St. Clair County has a strange and undue influence on justice and I don’t expect any surprises here, just a stern lecture and a slap on the wrist when he is sentenced on March 1, 2017.

The next question becomes who will be Hamilton’s replacement? One Township Board member, Edith Moore, is pushing for that person to be Tommy Dancy who, presently, is in charge of the MaryBrownCenter in ESL.

St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern will, ultimately, appoint someone. And my sources inform me that political retread and former ESL mayor Alvin “can I add another job to my resume” Parks may be pulled from the dustbin of political irrelevance and given the job by Kern.

But even as I write these words, feds were in the process of arresting eight associates of Hamilton, including his sister ESL City Councilwoman June Hamilton-Dean, ESL Township Trustee Edith Moore and former Alorton mayor Jo Ann Reed on various corruption charges.

I’ll keep you posted as the political round-up continues.

Email: jtingram_1960@yahoo.com; Twitter@JamesTIngram.

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