CLAYTON, Mo. (KMOX) – Under fire for supporting bridge repairs near a campaign donor’s mansion, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is calling for a state audit of how the county awards road and bridge work.
Stenger says the bridge in question — the Lewis Road bridge in Eureka — is falling apart and was already on a priority list for repairs before he took office.
“I’m extremely confident with respect to the executive branch that we are doing everything lawfully, and we have really nothing to be concerned about,” Stenger said. “But I think it’s important that we clear the air on this important issue.”
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Sunday that the bridge leads to the mansion of Stenger donor Michael Roberts. Roberts’ various businesses have reportedly donated more than $43,000 to Stenger since 2014.
Stenger says it’s the county council, and not him, that has been “playing politics,” holding up the Lewis Road bridge repairs, and other projects, because of a political feud.
“The county council voted down multiple measures in political retribution against (Councilman) Mark Harder (R-District 7),” Stenger said. “The Lewis Road bridge at the time was one of those projects, and the only reason you can draw from their vote, is that it was politically motivated and it was in retribution to Mark Harder.”
Stenger says Harder was being punished for opposing the council’s selection of Mark Tucker to serve as the county auditor.
He says whether Tucker qualifies under the county charter to serve as auditor is being reviewed by St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch.
“I would like this audit conducted in the most timely manner as possible,” Stenger said, “because I am concerned that the way politics is playing a role could put public safety at risk.”