ST. LOUIS — The former St. Louis Economic Development Partnership CEO pleaded guilty to charges related to her involvement with former County Executive Steve Stenger's pay to play schemes in federal court on Friday.
Sheila Sweeney, 61, pleaded guilty to one felony count of misprision of a felony.
The United State's Attorney's Office said in a release that Sweeney, who was appointed to her position by Stenger in 2015, knew of Stenger's bribery scheme to give contracts in exchange for campaign donations, didn't report the crime to law enforcement and helped to cover it up for several years.
Sweeney was also the executive director of the Port Authority and served on the board of the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority for St. Louis County. Her positions gave her influence in hiring and land deals in those organizations.
In the indictment of Stenger, Sweeney was named more than 100 times. It accused her of awarding contracts to donors of Stenger's campaign at his direction and including money in contracts for the purpose of paying people as political favors, among other things.
In exchange for her guilty plea, the government agreed Sweeney would not face any further prosecution due to her involvement with Stenger.
Sweeney faces a maximum of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Restitution is also mandatory.
John Rallo, a businessman also associated with Stenger, was also indicted on three counts of honest services mail fraud and bribery on Friday and pled not guilty. Both Sweeney and Rallo were released on their own recognizance and didn’t have to post bond.