Lewis Reed is no longer President of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen. He resigned on Tuesday afternoon amid growing pressure over the past five days for him to step down. Reed was indicted along with Jeffrey Boyd and former Alderman John Collins-Muhammad for allegedly taking bribes. All three appeared in court last Thursday to hear charges against them.
Reeds’ resignation follows former Aldermen Jeffrey Boyd’s resignation on Friday and Collins-Muhammad’s resignation last month. Mayor Tishaura O. Jones said in a statement today, “By resigning in the face of disturbing federal corruption charges, Lewis Reed did the right thing for our city. The shocking indictment represents a betrayal of everyday St. Louisans who Reed claimed to serve for his two decades at the Board.”
Lewis Reed, former St. Louis Board of Aldermen president and member of the three-person Board of Estimate and Apportionment and former Aldermen Jeffrey Boyd and John Collins-Muhammad have all been indicted on federal charges of bribery.
The government alleges that the men took “a stream of payments” and campaign donations and in return, supported tax abatement on several development projects.
The three men made their first federal court appearance Thursday afternoon, and each pleaded not guilty.
They were ordered to surrender their passports and not converse with one another.
In a telephone call to Ray Hartmann of KTRS, shortly after his court appearance, Reed said he would “put forth a vigorous defense.”
Reed who was scheduled to preside over a meeting of the Board of Alderman last Friday, issued a statement last week that Alderman Joe Vollmer would fill in for him. Thursday, Reed told reporters outside the Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. Federal Courthouse that he would not resign. It took less than a week for him to change his mind.
Collins-Muhammad resigned abruptly from his aldermanic seat last month. He wrote on Twitter, “The weeks ahead will be tough. I apologize to my family and to my constituents for my shortcomings and my mistakes.”
The indictment said Collins-Muhammad also received a vehicle in return for his political favor.
Reed, who serves on the BEA with Mayor Tishaura O. Jones and Comptroller Darlene Green is facing two counts for being an agent of the City of St. Louis, who allegedly corruptly accepted fee or reward for execution of an official act, vote or duty that is not due and facilitating this promotion by cell phone. Boyd is also facing counts for allegedly receiving “a stream of cash payments, free automobile repairs, and other things of value” to influence and be rewarded in connection with business transactions of the City of St. Louis and for purportedly facilitating and promoting by cell phone such unlawful activities.
The indictment was dated May 25 and was released Thursday morning. The name of the person who allegedly conspired with Reed, Boyd, and Collins-Muhammad was not released. The indictment repeatedly uses “John Doe” and “the individual.”
The U.S. Office of the Eastern District of Missouri said there would be a hearing of “public interest at 1 p.m. Thursday.
The court released the following information:
“The indictment lays out a years-long scheme in which Collins-Muhammad, and later Reed, sought to help the business owner, referred to in the indictment as ‘John Doe,’ obtain a significant property tax abatement for a new gas station and convenience store development in Collins-Muhammad’s ward. Doe estimated that the abatement could be worth $20,000 to $30,000 per year over at least 10 years, the indictment says. In all, Reed accepted $9,000 in cash from Doe, the indictment alleges. Collins-Muhammad accepted $7,000 cash, $3,000 in campaign contributions, a new iPhone 11 and a 2016 Volkswagen CC sedan in exchange for his help, the indictment alleges. Collins-Muhammad and Reed ultimately worked to pass Board Bills which provided the property tax abatement for Project A.
“During Reed’s 2021 run for mayor, Doe also gave Reed $6,000 total in cash and $3,500 in campaign contributions for Reed’s help in Doe’s ultimately unsuccessful attempt to obtain Minority Business Enterprise certification for his trucking company, and for help in winning contracts for city construction projects, the indictment alleges.
“Collins-Muhammad is also accused of accepting $3,000 after setting up a meeting with a public official who could steer business to Doe’s trucking company. Collins-Muhammad later asked for $2,500 more on behalf of the official, but instead used it to buy a 2008 Chevrolet Trailblazer, the indictment alleges.
If convicted of the main indictment, Reed’s and Boyd’s charges carry maximum penalties of 10 years and five years in prison, respectively, and a $250,000 fine. Collins-Muhammad’s ‘honest services’ bribery/wire fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. One of his bribery charges carries a 10-year maximum and the other has a five-year maximum. Boyd’s additional wire fraud charges related to the automobile insurance scheme carry maximum penalties of 20 years and a $250,000 fine. Restitution is also mandatory.