More Ignorance and Unproved Claims in Shockey Biz Dealings

26 Apr

The Leader arrived at the Shockey story this week (better late that never, I will say). While the issue merited page one coverage in the Post-Dispatch, it only made it to page four in our local paper, and police chief Robert Shockey’s name didn’t show up until paragraph three. In the article, Mayor Ron Counts joins the parade of ignorance, claiming to not have known an ordinance prohibited this activity. Counts also sees no reason for a reprimand:

“I didn’t see the point of discipline. If it had been something that had been hidden, that would have been a different story.”

So there you go, gentle readers. If you are breaking the law, make sure all your coworkers know about it. That way you can escape punishment. Next time I get caught speeding in Arnold, I’ll say that “a) I didn’t know the speed limit, and b) all these cars around me knew I was speeding, so don’t ticket me.” We’ll see how that works.

Counts claims in the article that the city “typically” requested bids before buying items from Shockey “if it was anything major.” How many non-major purchases did the city make from Shockey? And what was the threshold? What does “typically” mean?

In a claim I’m sure he’s confident won’t be checked, Shockey said he always sold items to the city at “cost, plus labor.” How much was his labor cost?

The Leader names the name of the police officer, unnamed in the Post-Dispatch, who also did business with the city. He was Detective Sgt. Scott Brown, and he also didn’t know he was violating city ordinance (nobody in Arnold seems to know yet that this also violates state law). Sounds like the Arnold PD needs some more training.

I wonder if Shockey’s business dealings with the city were driven by his personal financial troubles. In 2010, after the city started buying from him, he had wages garnished for at least a short time over a bill from St. Anthony’s Medical Center, according to Casenet (case # 10SL-AC09773). Maybe his coworkers at city hall felt bad about this, and so sent extra business his way.

Why did it take council member Mary Elizabeth Coleman to see that this arrangement was wrong (actually, it didn’t; the issue had been raised – and ignored – in the past)? Sure, she has a college education, unlike many in city government (she has a law degree too), but it shouldn’t take book learnin’ to understand that it was wrong.

Speaking of lawyers, where was city attorney Bob Sweeney on this? Don’t tell me he didn’t know about Shockey’s businesses. Did anyone ask his opinion of the legality of his sales to the city? Did he offer any guidance? That is something worth investigating.

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