ST. LOUIS — There are new questions surrounding the ongoing perjury investigation into a former FBI agent hired by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner.
According to a press release from March, Gardner has hired two separate law firms to represent her in the matter and a third to represent her office.
But the specific terms of those three arrangements, including how much they could end up costing taxpayers, became a lot less clear on Wednesday.
The 5 On Your Side I-Team obtained a letter dated April 10 that St. Louis City Counselor Julian Bush sent to 16th Ward Alderman Tom Oldenburg.
In it, Bush said it does not appear that Gardner has any valid contracts with those firms or if they've been filed with the register's office as required by state law.
"I have inquired of the register whether such contracts have been filed with her, and she says that they have not. Therefore I infer that such contracts have no been executed. Perforce the City cannot be obligated to pay contracts that do not exist," Bush wrote.
Gardner's office is currently of interest to Gerard Carmody, a special prosecutor who's been appointed by the court to investigate alleged perjury by William Don Tisaby.
Gardner hired Tisaby last year to help investigate former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens for invasion of privacy. All charges against Greitens have since been dropped.
On Tuesday, the Missouri Supreme Court handed down an opinion that will allow Carmody to execute a search warrant for electronic communications inside the circuit attorney's office.
As of this writing, sources told 5 On Your Side no such search warrant has been executed.
Gardner, with the assistance of the three law firms, spent months unsuccessfully trying to stop the warrant in court, calling it unconstitutionally broad and overly invasive.
Oldenburg told 5 On Your Side he has concerns, after hearing from constituents, about how much this legal battle could end up costing taxpayers.
"We need to be able to see the contracts. See the scope. Who's party to them? What's the limit? What are the billable hours?" he said.
So far, the total amount of the legal defense for Gardner and her office has not been made public.
Though, Oldenburg said Gardner is requesting "a lot more" money from the city for legal and professional services for the upcoming budget year.
He couldn't provide specific numbers but said the information should become public next week as the budget process gets underway.
His concern, though, is that without seeing the contracts taxpayers are being kept in the dark.
"She's off hiring high-priced attorneys. I'm hearing from people who feel maybe this is distracting the circuit attorney from prosecuting violent crime," Oldenburg said.
The firms Gardner previously announced she hired are Washington D.C. firm Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP, global firm Dentons and Baltimore-based Brown Goldstein & Levy.
Gardner's office provided the following statement:
“We’ve been utilizing the same process for securing contracts for over a decade. But given the city counselor’s letter, we will look into the matter.”