ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Charlie Dooley’s challenger in the race for St. Louis County Executive is accusing him of a conflict of interest on the burning Bridgeton landfill.
Steve Stenger says it’s wrong for the nuclear dump site spokesman, Richard Callow, to also be playing a role in the Dooley re-election effort.
Callow is a political consultant who works in public relations for Republic Services, the company that owns the burning landfill and the nearby nuclear waste dump at West Lake.
“You can’t have a company that essentially owns what could be the worst health crisis that we’ve ever faced in St. Louis County, you can’t have that same company having a joint adviser,” Stenger says. “Richard Callow is basically telling Charlie Dooley what to do … in regards to inaction on the landfill.”
Stenger says Callow is “constantly making comments” that indicate that he has information about Dooley’s campaign, including speaking about future TV ads before they’ve run.
Callow tells KMOX that he is not getting paid, and is just a “friend” of the Dooley campaign. But what exactly his role is, he refused to elaborate.
Callow does insist he has never talked with Dooley about the landfill issue.
Dooley’s campaign manager Damion Trasada says Callow does call to give advice and they evaluate it, but he is not a paid consultant.
KMOX’s Allison Blood confronted the County Executive, asking him about his relationship to Callow.
“Is Richard Callow in any way part of your campaign?” Blood asked.
“He’s a friend,” Dooley responded.
“But has he been helping with your campaign in any capacity?” Blood asked.
“He’s a friend,” Dooley said.
“But has he had any campaign role?” Blood asked.
“He’s a friend of mine,” Dooley said. “I have a lot of friends who have campaign roles.”
“Does he?” Blood asked.
“Is he a paid member? No,” Dooley said.
This isn’t the first time the issue has been raised. Last fall, an environmental activist group said Dooley had a conflict of interest, and that it might explain his failure to push for removal of nuclear waste near the burning landfill.
“When your friend’s working for the company that’s stinking up the area and is financially responsible for radioactive waste, it may not be in Charlie Dooley’s interest to go after a company that his friend’s working for,” Ed Smith of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment told KMOX at the time.
Residents and activists have previously expressed concern that Dooley took too low of a profile on the nuclear waste issue.
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