CLAYTON, Missouri — St. Louis County Executive Sam Page's office refuses to release grand jury subpoenas to the public while it remains under an "ongoing federal investigation," according to a series of letters exchanged between Page, County Councilman Tim Fitch, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Goldsmith.
Federal prosecutors charged Tony Weaver, one of Page's political appointees, with four counts of wire fraud last week. In the indictment, authorities quoted Weaver's private conversations with a local developer who was wearing a wire while they discussed ways to lie on applications for federal COVID-19 grant funds. According to the indictment, Weaver repeatedly instructed the business owner to falsify information on the grant applications and discussed a scheme to split the money. Those applications were never granted.
Jane Dueker, a Democrat running to challenge Page for his job in the August primary, called on his office to release any federal subpoenas prosecutors or the FBI sent to his office.
County Councilman Tim Fitch, a Republican, previously called on Page to release the subpoenas in a letter.
Page refused and instead sent a letter to Goldsmith. Page vowed to "defer" to Goldsmith's judgment, but suggested sharing those with the public could "interfere" with the investigation.
Goldsmith wrote back, but did not object to releasing the subpoenas. He also confirmed Page's office is under "ongoing federal investigation." However, a spokesman for Page says Beth Orwick, Page's government lawyer, still plans to block the release of those documents to the public, which could contain several clues as to the extent and focus of the U.S. Attorney's probe.
"Her office determined they are closed records at this time," Doug Moore said in a text message. "Dr. Page will follow the advice of the county attorney."
Page eventually fired Weaver — but only after the federal government unsealed an indictment against him.
"I acted within an hour of getting the information, and I think that's pretty prompt," Page said. "This person isn't an employee anymore, and I can't fire him twice," he said at a Wednesday morning press conference.
"Sam Page knew exactly what he was hiring, and at every turn, he protected Tony Weaver," Dueker said.
Dueker accuses Page of protecting Weaver from a pile of whistleblower complaints in the months leading up to that indictment, which included allegations that Weaver had created a "hostile work environment" in the county jail.