Several members of the St. Louis City Board of Aldermen call on Reed to resign

Several St. Louis City aldermen are calling for the Board of Aldermen President to resign Monday after a 66-page federal indictment outlined bribery charges.
Published: Jun. 6, 2022 at 11:17 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 6, 2022 at 2:26 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Several St. Louis City aldermen are calling for the Board of Aldermen President to resign Monday after a 66-page federal indictment outlined bribery charges.

An indictment was unsealed Thursday against Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed, 22nd Ward Alderman Jeffrey Boyd and recently resigned 21st Ward Alderman John Collins-Muhammad. They are all accused of getting substantial and numerous cash payments in exchange for political favors and land deals. The indictment details their alleged involvement with a “John Doe.” The alleged crimes happened from Jan. 1, 2020, to March 31, 2022. One of the properties in the mentioned indictment was in Collins-Muhammad’s ward and the other was listed as Boyd’s ward at the time. Boyd has since resigned from the Board of Aldermen following the federal indictment that was unsealed.

According to the charges, Collins-Muhammad and Reed helped John Doe get property tax abatement in exchange for cash bribes. Boyd allegedly also accepted cash bribes to help the same business owner obtain city-owned property for thousands of dollars less than it’s worth, and also helped John Doe to get a tax abatement for the project.

Reed allegedly took a stream of cash payments and campaign donations “intending to be influenced and rewarded in connection with a business, transaction and series of transactions” related to one of John Doe’s projects and his company. He also is accused of using his cellular phone for criminal activity. He was indicted on two bribery-related charges.

In a letter, Alderman Bill Stephens, 12th Ward, penned that, “there has been real damage inflicted upon our legislative body since this news shook our City, thought has not been inflicted solely by yourself. I remain firm in my belief that your resignation is necessary so that we may attempt to repair what credibility we might still salvage with the citizens of St. Louis.”

While Stephens says Reed is innocent until proven guilty, “this indictment has given the citizens no reason to trust in their government and I believe that is sufficient to warrant a resignation,” he said.

In a letter, Reed requested that another senior alderman preside over all full alderman meetings “until further notice.” A spokesperson for Reed’s office said Reed could continue to perform executive functions and serve his constituents. If Reed continues to hold his spot, he could be forcibly removed but only by the Missouri Attorney General, the St. Louis Circuit Attorney or St. Louis Counselor.

Christine Ingrassia, 6th Ward Alderwoman, also sent a letter Monday morning to Reed. In the letter, Ingrassia wrote, “I am emailing you this morning to join the call for you to resign your position on the Board of Aldermen. While the presumption of innocence should be afforded to everyone facing criminal charges, the broken trust with the community and the seriousness of the allegations against you make it impossible for you to continue your role.”

In a string of tweets, 17th Ward Alderwomen Tina Pihl also voiced her support for Reed relinquishing his duties as the President of the Board of Aldermen and “resign in the best interest for the City.” She also wrote that “everyone is entitled to due process.”

Cara Spencer also echoed calls for Reed to resign in a letter Monday. The 20th Ward Alderwomen shared her letter on Twitter in which she wrote, “while this is a dark moment in our city’s history, it also represents a tremendous opportunity to lay the foundation for reforms that can make us a stronger, more resilient city whose leaders can be trusted to make the best choices for the greater good.”

Alderwoman Megan Green, 15th Ward, released an official statement calling on Reed to resign as well on Monday. She wrote about reading the indictment multiple times over the weekend and about hearing from constituents and colleagues. “The charges and accusations in the indictment are not a complete surprise,” she wrote.

Anne Schweitzer, 13th Ward Alderwoman, responded “yes” to a question directed at her on Twitter asking if she thought he should resign.