Pine Lawn mayor charged with extortion but has not resigned -

Pine Lawn mayor charged with extortion but has not resigned

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By Ruella Rouf By Ruella Rouf

PINE LAWN, Mo. ( – Pine Lawn Mayor Sylvester Caldwell who was arrested Thursday and charged with extortion of cash payments from the owner of a local towing company, pleaded not guilty in a federal courtroom in downtown St. Louis, Monday.

Pine Lawn Communication Director Lou Thimes Jr. said despite the federal indictment on one felony count of interference with commerce extortion, Caldwell, 54, is still the Mayor.

Taxpayer money is going toward Caldwell’s $60,000 salary and the city owned vehicle that he fills up with gas paid for by the city.

“The judge set no parameters or no restrictions or boundaries,” said Thimes. “He is free to come to work and continue to do what he has done for the last 10 years or so, be the mayor of the City of Pine Lawn.”

Some Pine Lawn residents want Caldwell out as mayor.

“We want him to step down. We want the board of alderman to impeach him out of there,” said Earl Metts, a Pine Lawn resident.

Caldwell was arrested by FBI agents on Thursday. He appeared in court Thursday afternoon and was released on bond.

The indictment alleges Caldwell exercised authority over towing companies which provide services for the City of Pine Lawn. The indictment alleges between December 2013 and April 2014, Caldwell extorted cash payments from the owner of one towing company owner in exchange for directing the Pine Lawn Police Department to use the company.

If Caldwell is convicted he could serve a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and fines up to $250,000. ? 

He is due back in court at the end of October.

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