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Fri Aug 16, 2019, 08:07 PM

Former Economic Development CEO Gets 3 Years' Probation, $20K Fine For Stenger Scheme

Sheila Sweeney, the former chief executive of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, has been sentenced to three years' probation and fined $20,000 for her role in a corruption scheme orchestrated by then-St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger.

Sweeney admitted in May that she knew Stenger was trying to steer county contracts to a campaign donor and did nothing to stop it. Sweeney helped that donor, John Rallo, get a $130,000 marketing contract, even though he had no relevant experience. She also maneuvered to make sure that Rallo’s real estate company was able to purchase two pieces of industrial property near the St. Louis County and Municipal Police Academy

U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry could have sentenced Sweeney to up to 10 months in federal prison, according to federal guidelines for the crime, misprision of a felony.

Justin Gelfand, Sweeney's attorney, noted that she had never been convicted of a crime before and had an extensive history of charitable work. In a pre-sentence memo to the court, her attorneys also asked for probation because she is “the primary caretaker of her 79-year-old husband of 27 years, who is in poor health.”


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