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Businessman indicted in Stenger pay-to-play scheme, pleads not guilty

If convicted, Rallo faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Local businessman John Rallo was charged with three counts of honest services mail fraud and bribery on Friday.

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

The indictment alleges that beginning in Oct. 2014 and continuing through Dec. 31 2017, former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger schemed to defraud and deprive citizens of St. Louis County of their right to his honest and faithful services.

Specifically, the indictment alleges that Stenger, in exchange for campaign donations and several fundraising events, took official action to insure that Rallo and his company, Cardinal Insurance, obtained insurance contracts through St. Louis County during 2015 and 2016.

Stenger also took official action to insure Rallo's company Wellston Holdings, LLC, obtained options to purchase two properties in Wellston which were held by the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority of St. Louis County in 2016 and 2017.

The indictment also alleges Stenger, Rallo and Sheila Sweeney took steps to hide and conceal the illegal bribery scheme, including making false statements.

If convicted, Rallo faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

On Friday, Rallo made his first appearance in court where he pleaded not guilty.