The Rams have not called St. Louis home for more than two years, News 4 Investigates discovered bills from the proposed football stadium plan are still piling up and some contractors say they're getting ripped off by the city.

Proposed Rams Stadium

Rendering of the proposed Rams stadium along the riverfront

“I guess the lesson is, you should never trust anyone in government. It's a terrible lesson,” said Carlton Brown.

Brown, a partner at a minority-owned company called Direct Invest Development, wanted to make a difference in St Louis.

“We try to build healthy communities instead of just building buildings,” he said.

In 2015, Brown was contacted by St. Louis aldermen to help keep the St. Louis rams and build a new stadium.

Brown says he hesitated.

“We had just had a family tragedy, we had just lost our son to colon cancer,” he explained.

But he says officials told him his work writing a minority inclusion plan would propel St. Louis forward and help heal racial and economic divides.

“We were contacted at the lsat moment and decided it was worth it,” he said.

Carlton Brown

Carlton Brown, partner in Direct Invest Development.

He says he was assured they would get paid by the Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority, or RSA.

“[They] agreed they would pay us for the work so we stayed committed to do the work and we did the work and that's the last we heard from them,” Brown said.

So Brown and his company worked up a report on the stadium plan and the aldermen used it in their proposal.

Brown and his partner sent in their bills which was nearly $61,000 at the time, but has since ballooned to more than $93,000 due to interest.

Even to this day, nearly three years later, Brown has never been paid.

Now, they've been sending letters all the way up to the mayor's office asking for what they say is owed.

News 4 sat down with President of the Board of Aldermen Lewis Reed who says there's a real irony.

“When you look at this deal, everyone got paid except for the minority contractor,” he said.

Reed says the report was helpful to the now-defunct plan and says aldermen still use the information in it to this day.

But Reed said the board never promised or assured Brown his company would get paid.

“No, i never did. That was between them and the RSA,” he said.

But the RSA denies they're responsible. However, after more than half a dozen phone calls over months and a canceled interview, no one from the RSA has spoken on camera with News 4 about the issue.

Aldermen Reed is now calling for hearings.

“Two years later, the RSA is still stiff-arming this guy, okay. Just pay the guy,” he said.

Brown is now considering suing to get what is owed.

“I think after the aldermen got what they needed from us, we weren't a priority anymore,” Brown said.

But taxpayers won’t be holding the bag.

According to the city counselor, Brown and his partner never signed any kind of contract, something Brown is frustrated by.

“I did think it was strange, but the context was they said they only had 10 or 15 days to get this legislation written,” he said.

But he adds it's a situation that never should have happened.

“It says something about the failure of the leadership to learn much around race and class and equity and justice over the last three or four years,” he said.

Brown says he doesn't have any confidence he will get paid, but Alderman Reed's office vows the issue is far from over. They want an investigation, seeking to get the contractor paid.

Copyright 2018 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved


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