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Former CEO of St. Louis Economic Development Partnership named in Stenger indictment to plead guilty

Sheila Sweeney was named more than 100 times in Steve Stenger's indictment. The indictment accuses her of awarding contracts to donors of Stenger's campaign under his direction, among other things.
Credit: KSDK

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — The Department of Justice said Sheila Sweeney, the former CEO of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, will be in court Friday to plead guilty to federal charges.

The release said Sweeney — who was implicated in the indictment of former County Executive Steve Stenger — will be in court Friday at 3:30 to enter the plea. It did not say what the charges against Sweeney were.

Sweeney was appointed by then-County Executive Steve Stenger as the CEO of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership in August of 2015. She 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. Those 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.

One of the donors who was given a job, according to the Stenger indictment, was John Rallo. He will also appear in federal court Friday.

The indictment of Stenger says Rallo donated $5,000 to Stenger's campaign in October of 2014 in the hopes that Stenger could help Rallo land insurance contracts with St. Louis County and continued to give to Stenger's campaign every year until 2018. 

In exchange for these donations, Rallo was under the understanding that Stenger would help his companies get insurance and consulting contracts with St. Louis County, the indictment said. It also said Stenger helped Rallo's company purchase land in Wellston, Missouri, for the purpose of redevelopment.

His hearing on Friday is listed as an initial appearance/arraignment, though it does not say on what he could be arraigned.

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