What Does the 1993 Comptroller's Race Scandal Have to Do With the 2012 Treasurer's Race?

brian-wahby.jpg
Image via
Brian Wahby
St. Louis feels like a small town sometimes, ripe with recurring names and intertwined narratives.The city's political dynamics tend to showcase this phenomenon very effectively. Latest exhibit: this year's race for city treasurer.

For context, let's go to a 1999 Riverfront Times feature story about treasurer Larry Williams, the current incumbent. Reporter D.J. Wilson describes a scandal involving the "'stalking horse' candidacy of Penny Alcott in the 1993 comptroller's election:

Steve Baker, an assistant city treasurer under Williams, pleaded guilty to mail fraud in connection with Alcott's candidacy. [Incumbent Virvus] Jones defeated Ald. Jim Shrewsbury (D-16th), 44,670 votes to 42,661 votes. Alcott received 3,268 votes. Part of the investigation of Jones was related to the allegation that Alcott was talked into the race to split the South St. Louis [white] vote, thereby helping Jones. During the trial, Alcott testified that Williams' executive assistant, Brian Wahby, gave her the $725 filing fee she used to file for comptroller and later gave her money for expenses, including clothes and health insurance.

Baker admitted during testimony that he had falsified campaign-disclosure reports, hiding a transfer of funds from Jones' campaign to Alcott. He also testified that Alcott "was never intended to be a viable candidate" and that Alcott "was intended to take votes away from Jim Shrewsbury."

Baker pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to a $4,000 fine and two years' probation. Wahby got off scott-free.

Wahby is now running for treasurer. So is Virvus Jones' daughter, state Rep. Tishaura Jones. And in what is either a Shakespearean (incidental) or Machiavellian (cynical) twist, Jones might end up splitting the north St. Louis (black) vote with 22nd Ward Alderman Jeffrey Boyd, the candidate who has raised the most money so far. (13th Ward Alderman Fred Wessels rounds out the field.)

So a quick re-cap of the facts: nineteen years after Brian Wahby allegedly paid a candidate to siphon votes away from Virvus Jones' opponent, Virvus Jones' daughter is in a position to siphon votes away from Brian Wahby's opponent.

Small town, huh?

-----
For more on St. Louis politics, boxing, hip-hop and miscellaneous social issues, follow @albertsamaha on Twitter.


My Voice Nation Help
8 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
Toni
Toni

It's fun reading about intriguing stories on politics!Gotcha!

Sue Spedale
Sue Spedale

 That is often the first question out of my mouth when meeting someone from St. Louis! I moved away from St. Louis over 35 years ago.  When enjoying conversation with a person I just  discover is from St. Louis,...I HAVE to ask! "Where did you go to High School?"  I must surely know someone YOU know, because I know everyone from St. Louis!!! and I don't even live there anymore!   I'm one of eight kids!...all my brothers and sisters still live there!  Or perhaps one of my sisters or brothers must know you or know one of your acquaintances!! Or did I use to babysit you???   It's just a big city with a small town atmosphere where everybody knows your name!!  Our doors were always unlocked and everyone was always welcomed.  Living with High Spite Fences in CA.But at least the weather's nice....Sue

Idvic
Idvic

Talk about circular logic, to conclude that Rep Jones filing could pull votes away from Jeffery Boyd when Jones announced before Boyd announced and ignore the fact that Wahby could be in cahoots Boyd to pull votes away from Jones and that Wahby could be there to pull votes away from Wessels. Albert Samaha should leave political anaysis alone and write about something else.

Egolterman
Egolterman

No one does the 'recall' as well as RFT, even sans Hartman. About the same time, all of them built a parking garage for the new hockey arena which would not serve the adjoining opera house. Today the opera house still doesn't have parking, and is being dominated by stand-up comics, weddings and banquets.  At least they are consistent.

Modern
Modern

Who cares - St. Louis needs to be worried about the future not the past

KITTY
KITTY

When this scandal was brewing and Virvus Jones was under investigation by the feds, I harken back to the day I received from a former prosecutor and friend the following verse:Folks around city hallare gettin' mighty nervousfor this time the feds will surely arrest Virvus.It will a great and joyous daywhen he is handcuffed and taken awayand if there really is a God, the next one they will indictis Congressman Clay!

Stlcityguy
Stlcityguy

BOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRIIIIIIIINNNNNGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!

Boss Tweed
Boss Tweed

Is Brian still the chair of the central committee?

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...