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Six weeks ago incumbent Jim Shrewsbury looked like the favorite to win the race for president of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen -- not least when comparing his campaign finance reports to those of challenger Lewis Reed. As of January 24, Shrewsbury boasted a war chest of $238,824, Reed $205,000.

The March 6 election marked the first major race in the city since state legislation did away with individual campaign contribution limits last year. In the waning days of the race, Reed benefited greatly from the change in law. He also won the race.

While Shrewsbury's finance reports list contributions in the $100-to-$1,200 range, Reed received a cash infusion of $35,000 from a single donor -- Paul Weismann -- on February 28. Weismann gives his address as 110 E. 59th Street on New York City's tony Upper East Side. (The phone company has no listing for a Paul Weismann at that address. In today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch, reporter Jake Wagman describes Weismann as a real estate developer.)

Also fueling Reed with donations late in the game was George Kruntchev, a University City resident who contributed $10,000 on February 28 -- in addition to the $6,250 he'd already donated to the campaign. (Wagman reports that Kruntchev, too, is a developer. Unlike Weismann, Kruntchev's number is listed. I'm awaiting a return call.)

Of the issues on which Reed separated himself from incumbent Shrewsbury, the most notable was the leasing of 9.4 acres of Forest Park to Barnes-Jewish Hospital. The hospital proposes to expand its facilities onto the park land within the next ten years. Other details of the project -- including the names of the developers -- have yet to be released.

-Chad Garrison

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