Is Rep. Genise Montecillo's Ex-Husband Joe Montecillo Running for Office to Harass Her?

Categories: Politics
Rep. Genise Montecillo and her ex-husband (and House candidate) Joe Montecillo
The strange drama that's unfolded in the Democratic primary of Missouri's 93rd House district has stayed behind-the-scenes, but almost became public on Wednesday, March 21.

On that day, after a lunch recess, Representative John "JJ" Rizzo (D-Kansas City) returned to his seat in the chamber. Desks in the House are arranged in pairs; last session, Rizzo's seatmate was Genise Montecillo, a fellow Dem from the 66th district in St. Louis. 

Despite the age gap -- she was 49, and Rizzo, 31 -- they'd both been elected as freshmen in 2010, and had become friends. Montecillo was a former special-ed teacher who'd already cemented a reputation in the caucus as a professional, hard-working member of the budget committee. But on that spring afternoon, Rizzo could see something was wrong with her. 

"I can tell you she was visibly shaken and concerned for her safety," Rizzo recalls. "I'd never seen her react like that." 

Montecillo had just received word that a man was spotted in downtown Jeff City: Her estranged husband Joseph Montecillo, a one-time assistant city counselor in St. Louis and Brown & Crouppen lawyer who currently practices at the Klar, Iszak and Stenger firm in Richmond Heights. The couple was separated with only sporadic contact. But on that day, Joe was present in the capital, and  -- thanks to the quirks of redistricting -- was filing to run for state rep in the district adjacent to hers. 

Genise grew so upset, Rizzo remembers, she excused herself. "On the House floor, you're in front of cameras," he explains. She headed to a break room to collect herself. 

Within hours, records show, Genise was in the Cole County Sheriff's Office filing a petition for an order of protection against Joe. 

"I believe he has tracked me through my car and phone as he's known my whereabouts," she wrote in longhand. "I believe he had my bedroom he later revealed phone conversations in detail."

Image via
Genise Montecillo in 2010
She sketched out more background in her petition: Once she was elected in 2010, she wrote, Joe wanted a government job and "became very agitated" when she failed to deliver one, frequently screaming at her and berating her. 

Genise moved out of their Affton home in December 2011 and into an apartment (Joe kept the house). After that, she said, "things settled for a while," then he sent her "multiple e-mails." She alleged that one night, when she declined to respond to several of his texts, he called the Missouri State Highway Patrol to report that a state rep was missing -- even though he knew she was safe. 

"While he has never physically harmed or threatened to physically harm me," she wrote, "his behavior has become increasingly erratic and unpredictable as our relationship has I fear for my safety." 

Joe Montecillo tells Daily RFT that soon thereafter, he was served papers of a restraining order at six in the morning, which "frustrated" him. However, he believes that their separation had been civil. He repeatedly insists that his ex-wife (they're now officially divorced) is "a wonderful state rep and a very good person," not to mention someone of high integrity. 

So does that mean we should believe what's in her petition?

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Joe is a stand up guy.  He is a very honorable man.  He never said a cross word about his now ex-wife.  A restraining order being sought without any violence or threats of violence seems like an overreaction.  Running for office in a separate district does not hardly rise to a level of harassment. 


Mr. Rizzo admits he's never met Joe but wants to "speculate" on the record? His quote: "I've never met [Joe Montecillo], but it seemed to me that it was more of a vindictive move on an ex-husband's part than someone who wanted to help a community, or any other legitimate reason you would get into politics." ---- uh, if Joe was running AGAINST her, I can see "vindictive." But the story says the guy was her treasurer for her run two years ago, and now they're divorced, and now he has political aspirations of his own? For God's sake, they're both Democrats. What's he gonna do, cancel out her vote after he peeks up at the Big Board and sees which way she's voting on every issue for the next two years if he gets elected? OK --- THAT'S vindictive. As for Mr. Rizzo, that's like me reading the first couple paragraphs of the story and saying "Well, I've never met Mr. Rizzo but it seems to me that if he's 31 and he's sitting next to a 49 year recently single woman, he must like preying on cougars on the rebound."  Stupid is as stupid does --- sometimes --- when people run their mouth about someone they've admittedly "never met" and then go on the record.   


I have known Joe Montecillo and his family since he and I were high school freshmen 30 years ago. None of what is being claimed about him is accurate. I can only speculate as to Genise's motivation, and truly it doesn't matter. I've never heard him say a bad word about her, publicly or otherwise. Disagree with his politics all you like, but Joe's character is impeccable.


Honestly? Genise Monticello strikes me as a bit of a fruitcake, and kudos to her ex-husband for not calling her out for it. Did anybody notice that she makes all these wild claims but offered no evidence, besides admitting her husband never actually threatened her or harmed her?

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