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FOX Files: Possible Plan to Stop Small Town Corruption | News

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FOX Files: Possible Plan to Stop Small Town Corruption
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Government officials refuse to say how they're spending money - and residents haven't seen any finance reports for years. 

FOX Files investigator Chris Hayes has been trying to track down the money for months and along the way he's found a rising effort to dissolve some small St. Louis County towns.

The Story:

In Wellston, we've tried to track 1/3rd of a million dollars an insurance company paid to rebuild the burned out public works building.

Mayor Linda Whitfield refuses to answer.

Before one meeting, I asked, "You won't tell people what you're doing with their money?"
The mayor interrupted, "Could we have prayer?"

One Councilwoman said this to me, for even asking about missing money, "You don't come in our town and treat us like we're dirt."

She threatened to have us arrested at the meeting, so I asked her later, "Are you saying I should take no for an answer?"
Councilwoman Helen Jackson said, "No, no you wouldn't have a job."  She continued, "You can do things better, not in anger."  Then she said, "Now how look how calm you are.  Now look how calm.  Just a little more sugar you could do more things."

[Hayes] "Can you get the treasury reports?  Can you get the accounts payable, the accounts receivable -- so we can see where this money went?"
[Councilwoman Jackson] "I'll do what I can do."

That's translated into "no."  It's also led some citizens to demand the County takeover.

Priscilla Brown said, "The solution is to dissolve the government, to dissolve the municipality, to dissolve Wellston.  Because the people who are running it are corrupt, from the top to the bottom."

The St. Louis County Municipal League is now looking for people to help draft a bill to the Missouri legislature, to help citizens who feel their towns are out of control.  It's in very early stages, but a plan could involve finding a way for St. Louis County to take over part of the tax base of a City that does not meet certain standards.  That would then allow a  takeover.
    
The City of St. George may dissolve on its own, after its Mayor said it wasn't possible for her City to prosper without making questionable ethical decisions.  

E-mail Chris.Hayes@tvstl.com

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