Tag Archives: bob sweeney

DeSoto Officer Sues City over Firing

1 Apr

Mike McMunn, who was named DeSoto interim police chief on November 3 of last year after previous chief Rick Draper resigned (but was probably forced out), and then was fired on February 7, only to rejoin the force two weeks later as a sergeant, has filed a lawsuit (read it here) against the city over his firing. He also alleges that his rehiring agreement was violated and that part of this treatment was for political reasons.

Here is a timeline of events:

      • 10-23-17 – Police chief Rick Draper resigned (probably under threat of termination, I am hearing)
      • 11-3-17 – McMunn named interim chief
      • 1-29-18 – DeSoto police engage in high-speed chase over a stolen donation jar that leads to a bad crash in Washington County (McMunn was not doing the chasing)
      • 2-5-18 – Draper comes back to the department as a detective
      • 2-7-18 – McMunn fired, and while the city won’t say why, the chase and crash appears to be the official reason. McMunn says the city manager, Ann Baker, and the city attorney, Mark Bishop, fired him, even though his contract says only the city council can do that.
      • 2-19-18 – New police chief Joe Edwards’ first day
      • 2-21-18 – McMunn returns to work at the same rate of pay he received as acting chief
      • 3-23-18 – McMunn files lawsuit

McMunn states that after he was fired, he requested some documents from the city (personnel records and policies and such). One could surmise that these were wanted in preparation for a lawsuit. McMunn states that after this request was made the city started talks with him about bringing him back on the force at his old rank of sergeant but at his chief level of pay. The deal also said McMunn need not sign a waiver of litigation (basically agreeing not to sue).

However, he states that as soon as he came back to work, new chief Edwards, City Manager Baker, mayor Larry Sanders, and city attorney Bishop all, one at a time, pressured him to sign a waiver, which he declined to do. His next paycheck then showed a rate of pay $2.51 per hour lower than what was agreed upon. McMunn is suing to have his pay restored and the termination expunged from his record.

Claims of Political Motive

The lawsuit alleges that some of this treatment is politically motivated. Bishop has filed as a candidate in the August GOP primary for county prosecuting attorney. McMunn states that he is a vocal candidate of another candidate, presumably Bishop’s GOP opponent, Trish Stefanski. McMunn alleges that it is for this reason that Bishop had it out for him. (I notice that former chief Draper is also a Stefanski supporter.)

While I don’t doubt that McMunn was mistreated by the city and its ethically-dubious leadership, I have some skepticism about this part of the suit. This is in large part because McMunn’s attorney is Allison Sweeney, daughter and law partner of Robert Sweeney, who I have written much about and who has built a local municipal law empire while frequently interfering in politics. Perhaps the Sweeneys saw the chance to append a political shot onto this otherwise credible suit.

Related to this, here is a Leader ad from 2016:


Note on the last line that the Sweeneys and Stefanski teamed up here to promote the Democratic judicial ticket. While I do not allege that there is any collusion here with the candidate, we see that all three agree on the type of candidates that should be elected to judicial system positions in JeffCo. So it makes you wonder.


Sweeney Rebuked by MO Appeals Court

4 Jan

Robert Sweeney, who serves as attorney for multiple local government entities, including the cities of Arnold and Byrnes Mill, and who appears frequently in these pages, has once again achieved that combination of malfeasance and incompetence that he is known for. This time, his client was the Northeast Public Sewer District (NEPSD) of Jefferson County. In this case, the Appeals Court for the Eastern District of Missouri slammed Sweeney for filing a “frivolous appeal” and awarded legal costs to his opponent as a punishment.

Case Background

  • NEPSD took an easement on the property of one William Feucht of Fenton by condemnation and paid him $570 (Sweeney has experience with land taking – Arnold used eminent domain against a number of people and businesses to help a private developer build Arnold Commons. This led to long legal proceedings and surely big legal bills).
  • Feucht sued and won a jury trial that awarded him $11,500 for the property.
  • Sweeney appealed the verdict on the sole grounds that Feucht’s service in the Marines, which was mentioned during the trial, was irrelevant and prejudiced the jury.

The Decision

Now here is where the incompetence comes in. In order to appeal on certain grounds, you have to present that argument in the original case. If you don’t object to something at the time, you can’t complain about it later.

The reason Feucht’s service came up was that he was an accountant in the Marine Corps. He claimed at trial that this was part of his qualifications for being able to to state that his land was worth more than NEPSD gave him credit for.

Before evidence was presented at the trial, Sweeney made vague statements like (paraphrasing) “I may object to one or two slides” and “I don’t know what relevance this Marine thing is.” But when Feucht testified on his qualifications, and when he entered his Marine meritorious promotion certificate into evidence, Sweeney did not object. He also never motioned for a new trial. So he lost any right to appeal based on this issue.

And here we turn to the malfeasance. The court states that, even if Sweeney was able to appeal the mention of military service, he would have lost on the merits. The Sweeney Law Firm, actually represented by Bob’s daughter Allison on the appeal, claimed the discussion of Feucht’s military service was “extensive.” The court rejected this claim, pointing out that only a few lines of testimony on the subject were offered. And the court stated that being an accountant was highly relevant and central to Feucht’s ability to claim that he knew what his land was worth.


Because of the blatant frivolity of this appeal, the court took the drastic step of forcing Sweeney to pay Feucht’s legal expenses (and he can’t get NEPSD to pay the money for him). But since Feucht was representing himself in front of the appeals court, and thus had few costs, he only got $350. Note: Sweeney lost to a guy representing himself! (Feucht did have an attorney for the original trial and early on in the appeals process.)

Here are some excerpts from the unanimous opinion of the three-judge panel hearing the case (link to the full opinion here):



And this:


Devoid of merit…failed to take basic steps…bad faith…careless attitude…no prospect of success…lack of professional effort.

These are damning words.

I have long theorized that Sweeney files meritless cases for two reasons: 1) he knows most people can’t afford to fight him in court, and 2) to inflate his legal bills. Both reasons appear to apply here, though the first did not work out for Sweeney. In addition to the $350 levied by the court, NEPSD should demand that Sweeney pay back his legal fees for this appeal.

With Sweeney’s history of failure (see links below), local government entities need to ask themselves why they continue to employ the Sweeney Law Firm, or in the case of Arnold, give him a big raise. It is clearly not in the best interest of these entities or the taxpayers to pay money to a lawyer that continues to litigate and lose weak cases.

Here is a list of Sweeney clients:

  • Arnold
  • Byrnes Mill
  • North Jefferson Ambulance
  • Public Water Supply District No. 13 (Lake Tishomingo)
  • Northeast Public Sewer District
  • City of Iberia, Missouri
  • Jefferson County 911 Dispatch
  • Washington County 911 Dispatch
  • Big River Ambulance District
  • Bismarck Fire Protection Association
  • Saline Valley Fire Protection District
  • Potosi Fire Protection District
  • DeSoto Rural Fire Protection District
  • Glaize Creek Public Sewer District

Sweeney Lowlights

Here are some Sweeney greatest hits:

  • His poor ballot language forced a tax revote
  • He kicked a candidate off the ballot and lost the resulting lawsuit, so new ballots had to be printed
  • He advised Arnold to deny a councilwoman’s request to see a city hall visitor log. The state attorney general intervened with a hard rebuke and threatened a lawsuit against the city.

Arnold Mayor Rewards His Ally Sweeney

18 Oct

This post has been on my back burner for quite some time, as it dates back to June, but better late than never, I say.

One of the first acts of Arnold mayor Ron Counts after he won re-election in April was to reward one of his biggest allies, city attorney Bob Sweeney, with a pay hike. Sweeney has done a lot, while zigzagging across ethical lines, to keep the Counts regime in power and to quash opposition, and I guess it was time to thank him (hmm, why not do it before the election)? On June 1, Counts asked the city council to give Sweeney a 40% pay raise, from $100/hour to $140/hour, and the pliant council unanimously agreed.

Here is how Counts justified the move to the Leader:

“One thing I have learned about Bob that sets him apart from anyone I can think of, as far as having an attorney, is Bob really loves our city. You can hire an attorney and usually they’re just hired guns, but this guy (Sweeney) is for real. He grew up in the city and raised his family here. He has a long history with the city and he truly cares about the city and wants it to be a success. I think when you get these kinds of people who do a good job for you, you need to do what you can to keep them.”

I guess that’s why he lives in Crestwood? I think what Sweeney loves about Arnold is that the city gives him lots of money and power. And when Counts says Sweeney does a good job, he means a good job of covering for Counts and his cronies.

Here is the information that city administrator Bryan Richison gave the council concerning hourly rates for area city attorneys:

atty fee table1

From this, you would say, yeah, Arnold is way at the bottom of the list, and even with the $40 raise, they are still low. But you have to remember that, like a car salesman, Sweeney makes it up on volume. Here’s his formula:

low hourly rate X lots of hours billed = $$lots of cash$$

While he’s not billing the city $200,000 or more like he was a decade ago, as you will see below, he is still making plenty of money despite his low hourly rate. I did a comparison of the annual city attorney payments made by Arnold to other area cities of similar populations. This kind of data was not presented to the council. Here’s what I found:

atty fee table2

The green row shows where Arnold is now. The city’s attorney expenditures are in line with similarly-sized cities, even with Arnold’s low hourly rate, and maybe even on the low end when divided by population (Arnold is the 2nd biggest city on this list). But if we take Arnold’s 2015 and 2016 spending on attorney’s fees and increase it by 40% to estimate the impact of the pay raise (the first row, in red), we see that Arnold shoots to the top of the list when you average the two years together and divide by each city’s population (“$/person avg” column). This is what Arnold taxpayers can expect going forward. Also note that Arnold’s median income is much lower than the other cities mentioned.

Retainer Option

You can see in the next to last column that three cities on the list pay a retainer fee to their city attorneys (Creve Coeur, Webster Groves, Manchester). The retainer is a monthly set fee that covers basic city attorney duties. If work needs to be done that is outside the scope of the retainer, that work is billed at the hourly fee listed in column two. Services that generally fall under the retainer include attendance at council and board meetings, consultations with the mayor, council members, and department heads, and review of documents.

It seems like Arnold could save some money by going the retainer route, given the apparently high number of hours billed by Sweeney. But Arnold probably won’t do that if it is not advantageous for Sweeney’s bottom line.

Sweeney Screws Up Again

27 Mar

Oh man, the laughs were loud and side-splitting in my household when I belatedly saw this little tidbit. It turns out that the Saline Valley Fire Protection District, which got a tax hike passed in August of 2016, has to go before the voters again for a redo. Why?

Because their attorney, Bob Sweeney, f’ed up the ballot language!!!

According to the Leader, who limited this story to its West Side edition in February, the State Auditor’s office ruled that the tax initiative from 2016 only applied to that year. Here is the 2016 language:

Shall the board of directors of the Saline Valley Fire Protection District of Jefferson County, Missouri be authorized to levy an additional operating tax of not more than twenty-five cents ($0.25) on the one hundred dollars ($100.00) assessed valuation to provide funds for the support of the District, with the levy increase to be effective for taxes imposed in 2016?

That last sentence does seem a bit awkward. We see tax increases on the ballot left and right in these parts, especially on the upcoming April 4 ballot, and the other entities don’t have this problem. Couldn’t Sweeney just have copy and pasted some language? Why did he put the year in there like that?

Here’s a delicious excerpt from the Leader article:

saline sweeney

Rebuke! So now Saline has to spend $5,474 to hold another election. That money should come out of the district’s payments to Sweeney, but the board probably won’t make such a common sense move. That amount is surprisingly low to me, considering that Sweeney’s decision to illegally kick a candidate off the ballot in the North Jefferson Ambulance District cost that entity $20,000 in extra election costs.

This is more evidence of my repeated assertion that Sweeney, who serves as attorney for a multitude of local entities, including the cities of Arnold and Byrnes Mill, is, in addition to being ethically bankrupt, just not a very good lawyer. Since municipal law is almost all he does, you would think he could handle something simple like this. Now if only these entities would realize he’s a bad lawyer and get rid of him…

More Arnold Mayor Drama

One person who seems to have belatedly realized that Sweeney is no good is Arnold city councilman and mayoral candidate Phil Amato, who correctly stated in January that Sweeney and police chief Robert Shockey are the ones running the city. Amato is the latest in a line of Arnold council members, including Ken Moss, Cricky Lang, and Sandra Kownacki, to apparently come around to the realization that things are rotten in Arnold. I suspect, though, that part of Amato’s epiphany is politically motivated.

Now, the Leader reports that Amato has filed a complaint against Sweeney with the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel (OCDC) of the state Supreme Court (I understand this is not the first complaint against Sweeney filed there). Amato says Sweeney violated attorney-client privilege as it relates to the election deal that Amato offered Counts. I don’t know if this particular complaint is legitimate, but if you have to get Al Capone for tax evasion, or get OJ for robbery, that’s good enough for me.

The Leader also reports that the bogus Missouri Election Commission (MEC) claim Counts filed against Amato for the election deal offer was dismissed by MEC for being out of its jurisdiction. Sadly, there is only one week left in this contentious Arnold mayor election campaign. With events like this, I wish it would drag on for months.

Doors Thrown Open on Arnold Backroom Deals in Campaign Spat

25 Jan

If corruption in Arnold becomes so bad that the Leader is forced to write about it, you know it’s serious stuff.

Years of good old boy, backscratching, crony politics broke wide open today as the wary detente of Mayor Ron Counts and Councilman Phil Amato exploded publicly. As the filing deadline for April’s mayoral election approached, Counts filed complaints with the state Attorney General and the Missouri Ethics Commission over a deal that Amato supposedly offered him, which would have kept Amato out of the mayor’s race. This is what Amato wanted, according to Counts and as reported in the Leader:

  • Choose a certain person as the next Public Works director, thus eschewing an open, fair, hiring process oriented towards picking the best candidate and instead elevating a probable Amato crony.
  • Choose a certain person as the next Parks and Rec director, thus eschewing an open, fair, hiring process oriented towards picking the best candidate and instead elevating a probable Amato crony.
  • Force Bob Shockey out as police chief.
  • Give Amato an “unspecified benefit.”

Amato does not deny the first two, says that he merely wants to know when Shockey will finally leave, and claims that the benefit is “maybe a dinner.” I fully endorse the third item, and I suspect the fourth is a special deal for a Amato developer pal or something a bit more substantial than a meal at Applebee’s.

I fully suspect that, had Amato and Counts been able to come to an agreement (perhaps by dropping item 3), this deal would have been signed, sealed, and delivered, and Amato would have happily gone back to the council. Instead, here we are.

Smoking Gun Not a Secret

Amato also released what he claimed was a “smoking gun” that would have stayed secret had Counts accepted the deal. Amato said it was the city that ordered Ameren to shut off the electricity to flood-threatened areas of Arnold last December during the historic Meramec River flooding. This decision led to many flooded basements, as homeowners could no longer operate their sump pumps.

Counts denies this, and states that it was a consensus decision. I wrote about this back in February. Here is the statement I got from Ameren on this issue:


I think in the end, it had to be the city that made the order, while Ameren was free to advise. The real question, as I wrote in the article linked above, was which homes to shut off. It was clear that Arnold selected way too many homes to cut power to, 530 of them, when in the end only about 150 homes saw major damage. From statements, it appears that Arnold was working off of flood estimates that were two feet too high and not in line with what anybody was actually forecasting in the days before the flood. This would explain why the number of homes which had power shut off was so excessive. It was Counts and Shockey that were spouting the incorrect flood forecasts.

On an interesting flood note, residents complained that their manholes were not pumped out, and this contributed to the backups. The city said, hey, it’s not our sewer system, we sold it to Missouri American Water. The city heavily campaigned for this sale (while Amato voted against it as a city councilman) and tacked on an illegal tax. The city government got a bunch of money, and the residents got sewage-filled basements.

Shockey and Sweeney

Where there is corruption in Arnold, Shockey and city attorney Bob Sweeney cannot be far behind. It was Shockey who arranged to pay his son-in-law to attend police academy, steered city purchases to his personal businesses, interfered in the 2013 mayoral election on behalf of Counts with a frivolous, baseless discrimination lawsuit, and extracted a $70,000 payout from the city via that lawsuit. And here we are again with Shockey weighing in on the mayoral election on behalf of Counts.

Sweeney has interfered in Arnold elections by selectively booting candidates from the ballot based on their ideology, been grossly overpaid for years by running up billable hours, shilled for red light camera company American Traffic Solutions, and given bad legal advice.

Amato states that Counts doesn’t really do much, and that Shockey and Sweeney run the city. It has been true over the years that certain city officials won’t do much without consulting Sweeney, and that Shockey is pulling a lot of strings to advance his own interests. Here are their responses to Amato in the Leader:

sweeney shockey amato.png

Sad to hear that Shockey won’t retire, but if you face no accountability, why not hang around and suck up a paycheck? And I suspect Amato’s “vendetta” is just that he finally got sick of Shockey’s mooching off of the city.

It is clear that Sweeney and Shockey like the status quo in Arnold, and will be fighting to maintain it in this campaign. It will be interesting to monitor the campaign contributions that the two candidates receive.

Who to Back?

On one hand, I think good people in Arnold should back the third candidate for mayor, William Denman, who I know nothing about, only to get rid of Counts and Amato, who is running for mayor instead of for re-election to the council. But, given that Amato seems ready to get rid of Shockey and Sweeney, perhaps we should support him. Achieving those two goals alone would be enough to Make Arnold Great Again.

More importantly, given the sheer number of figurative bodies that are buried in Arnold City Hall, here’s hoping that the campaign stays nasty, and that Amato and Counts reveal some more secrets about Arnold city operations between now and April 4.

Sweeney Post Office Box and Local Elections

19 Aug

I wrote here about how an employee of Arnold and Byrnes Mill city attorney Robert Sweeney named Lisa French was, strangely, the deputy treasurer for the failed Prop C effort to pass a half-cent sales tax in Arnold to fund stormwater and infrastructure improvements in 2015.

French, from Hillsboro, is also the deputy treasurer for a new political action committee (PAC) called The JeffCo Dems. While French listed what I assume is her home address in the paperwork for Building a Better Arnold, she lists PO Box 20 in Hillsboro as her address in the paperwork for The JeffCo Dems. That same address is also listed as the address for the PAC itself. Allison Sweeney, daughter and law partner of Bob Sweeney, who also serves as Byrnes Mill prosecutor, is the treasurer of The JeffCo Dems and also for Democrat county council candidate for district 2 Roger Hendrix (she also wrote a letter to the Leader supporting Democrat Nathan Stewart for re-election as judge). Box 20 is listed as the address for Hendrix’s campaign committee and as the address for both Sweeney and his deputy treasurer, French.

PO Box 20 is also the address for – guess who – the Sweeney Law Firm. Generally, Bob Sweeney has preferred to do his political meddling behind the scenes, but I guess now his organization is going overt in its support for Democrats.

I asked this question in regards to Arnold Prop C, but it comes up again: if Bob Sweeney’s employees are listing the firm’s address as their address on these forms, are they doing political work as part of their job duties? Is Sweeney thus giving unreported in-kind donations to these PACs and Hendrix?

Old PAC Same as the New PAC

Now, I say that The JeffCo Dems is a new PAC, but in fact it is a reformed version of a PAC formed in March 2015 called….JeffCo Dems. This is according to paperwork filed at the Missouri Ethics Commission (MEC) website. JeffCo Dems was terminated on 5/25/16, the same day that The JeffCo Dems was formed. The old group transferred all of its money on hand, $3141.63, to the new group. Both groups have the same treasurers, Sweeney and French. Why end one group and start a new one just to add “the” to the PAC name?

Somehow, the old PAC does not have any finance reports on the MEC website other than its termination report. So we don’t know where it got $4,660 of the $4,920 it brought in, or how it spent $814 of that money (the rest that was not transferred to the new group went mostly to Hillsboro homecoming supplies). The new group has received about $2,300 from traditional Democrat sources: Democrat candidates, a labor group, and lawyers.

Given the Sweeney history of shadiness, I think these committees are worth keeping an eye on.

JeffCo’s Top Corruptocrat Spreads His Tentacles to Crestwood

30 May

Robert Sweeney is the ethically challenged attorney for a number of government entities in and around Jefferson County, including serving as city attorney for Arnold and Byrnes Mill as well as faraway Iberia, MO (?!). He has illegally kicked candidates off of ballots for political reasons, shilled for red light camera company American Traffic Solutions, received exorbitant payments for his work in Arnold, and possibly steered government money to union organizers. But now he has found his way onto the Planning and Zoning Board in Crestwood, where he lives. But instead of operating in the background, in this position he sits up on the dais.

Conflict of Interest

Sweeney was appointed to the board in November 2014, and voted in as chairman on April 1 of this year (which seems oddly rapid). That chairman vote was not without controversy, though, as reported by the Oakville Call newspaper. Another board member, Steve Nieder (who the mayor tried to remove last year), questioned whether it was a conflict of interest for Sweeney to serve on the board while also serving as city attorney for three other municipalities. Here’s some of the exchange (see more at the link):

“I would beg to disagree with you on that. I think working for other cities is more of a conflict than anything else could possibly be …,” Nieder said, questioning whether Crestwood would be Sweeney’s “first interest” if he was “working for someone else, some other city.”

Sweeney said, “I suppose I’m confused by that comment in that I suppose we all have jobs and loyalties. I also happen to be Catholic. I don’t think that that causes a conflict of interest.”

Nieder interjected, “We’re not talking about that. We’re talking about what you’re being paid for — I mean working for another city. Everybody that comes here could have a possibility of wanting to do business in another city, or you could defray them from doing business in our city ’cause you might possibly want them to do business in another city …”

Sweeney said, “… I will tell you that is so far from my thought process that I didn’t even think of that. It would be a breach of my fiduciary obligation if I did that, and if I felt that I had a conflict with some other applicant, I would recuse myself as I would expect everyone to do.

“And actually, I think I take offense at the notion that I’m somehow going to steer business from one place to another away from Crestwood. Honestly, Mr. Nieder, I don’t — I guess my mind doesn’t work that way …”

This is the Bob Sweeney that Arnold residents are familiar with, taking high umbrage if anyone questions him and throwing out non-sequitur arguments to defend himself.

As for the conflict of interest, I agree that it exists, but I would be more concerned if I was Arnold or Byrnes Mill. I would expect Sweeney to be more loyal to the city he lives in, versus the cities he works for. If he’s going to steer business, I would think it would be to Crestwood.

Out of Order

Later at the same meeting, a Crestwood resident (who also expressed conflict-of-interest concerns) spoke during a public hearing on whether to allow a gas station to operate around-the-clock. He also said things Sweeney didn’t like. Read all of this; it is golden (and there’s more on the Call website):

Sweeney said, “… Mr. Miller, Mr. Miller, I don’t mean to interrupt you, but …”

Miller replied, “You are interrupting me.”

Sweeney said, “Well, then I do mean to interrupt you.”

Miller said, “Do you have any rules for one minute or two minutes or three minutes?”

Sweeney and Miller then talked at the same time, with Miller finally saying, “… I just don’t like interruptions. I’m a taxpayer …”

“And so am I, Mr. Miller, and so are all the folks here,” Sweeney said. “And so we all have equal standing with you, and we are here, Mr. Miller, on this applicant’s request for 24-hour service. His use has already been approved. You’re a day late and a dollar short to complain about that. So if you have any comments about his request for 24-hour service, please have them. Otherwise, I will rule you out …”

Miller said, “I’m very much against 24-hour …”

Before Miller could finish, Sweeney began pounding his gavel and Nieder said, “Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey. Back up. This is a taxpayer that’s talking to you, my friend.”

Sweeney said, “I’m a taxpayer, too, Mr. Nieder.”

Nieder said, “This is a citizen …”

Sweeney interjected, “This is a citizen who is out of order.”

Nieder said, “Back off of him.”

Sweeney said, “You back off.”

Nieder said, “No, I will not. He has a right …”

Sweeney interjected, “You back off.”

Nieder continued, “He has a right to say what he wants to say. Ease up on him.”

Sweeney then asked Gillam “to please get the Police Department because I’m going to have Mr. Nieder …”

Nieder said, “Well, go ahead and get the Police Department because this man has a right to say what he wants to say.”

Sweeney said, “… He has a right to speak on the topic that we’re here for. I’m correcting him on the topic that we’re here (for) …”

Nieder interjected, “… But there’s no reason to throw a hammer on him or anything else like that. My goodness, he’s not hollering at you or anything of that sort.”

Sweeney said, “He was hollering, Mr. Nieder.”

Nieder said, “He is not hollering.”

Sweeney said, “Mr. Nieder, you’re out of order.”

Miller said, “Can I continue, please?”

Sweeney said, “No.”

So in a very short amount of time, Sweeney resorts not only to banging the gavel and using the “nuh-uh, you are!” technique, but also to threatening Nieder with removal by the police. It is beyond obvious that Sweeney does not have the temperament to chair a public board. He is, frankly, an ass. I bet judges just love him (or maybe he does municipal law so he can avoid them). While I’m sure he’s used to compliant/gullible elected officials and employees in the government entities he serves doing his bidding due to his supposed knowledge of the law, or because they’re on his side, he needs to learn to take criticism and be challenged if he wants to be on a board. If he has to bang his gavel and threaten to call the cops at his very first meeting as official chairman (he was acting chairman at the Dec. 3 meeting), what else is in store for Crestwood?

If you would like to listen to these exchanges, the audio can be found here. The conflict of interest discussion starts at about the 3:00 mark, and the exchange about the gas station starts at about 21:00.

Now a Psychologist?

To make matters worse, Sweeney had some choice words to share in an e-mail sent that same night to Crestwood Mayor Gregg Roby, who appears to be the latest in a long line of Sweeney cronies. The Call acquired the e-mail:

“… I explained to Mr. Nieder that my mind just doesn’t work that way,” Sweeney wrote. “Apparently, Mr. Nieder believes that I will breach my fiduciary obligation and steer business away from Crestwood for my personal or professional gain. That is, quite crazy; but, it is also defamatory. Anyway, his friend Mr. Miller agreed, somehow based on the Ferguson muni court problems.”

As for Miller, Sweeney wrote, “Mr. Miller did not take kindly to my suggestion that his comments were not on point. It was my opinion that his behavior was inappropriate and that he was out of order. It was further my opinion that he was refusing to respond to the request of the chair. I gaveled him out of order, which in turn caused Mr. Nieder some consternation.

“The bottom line is that I informed both of them that if their disruption continued I would have them removed. I’m sure Mr. Nieder is not happy. I suspect Mr. Miller has never been happy in his life — I am not licensed to practice psychology, but I do have a quarter century of experience dealing with really crabby, really irrational folks; and, I think he’s one.”

Sweeney also offered to resign “if my presence is a problem.”

We know Sweeney has contempt for those that are not his cronies, and here he spells it out in black and white. Perhaps Sweeney opponents in other entities should submit Sunshine requests for Sweeney’s e-mails, to see what he says about them. He should be forced to resign for these comments. Mayor Roby is not concerned by these comments, though, and in fact agrees with Sweeney:

“After listening to the audio, I contacted the secretary of the board who stated she summoned the police as a result of the disturbance being created by Mr. Miller and Mr. Nieder,” Roby wrote. “As mayor, and a citizen of this city, I am embarrassed that anyone should have to subject themselves to the type of disrespectful conduct and unprofessionalism I heard on the audio … I believe Mr. Sweeney, the new board chair, handled the situation with calm and professionalism …”He also wrote, “In addition, Mr. Nieder has no respect for parliamentary procedure as is evident from his threatening outburst when Mr. Sweeney chose to use the gavel to restore order. As mayor, I have seen enough. I am recommending that each of you review the attached email and the website audio and make up your own mind as to whether Mr. Nieder should be removed for cause …”Roby previously sought unsuccessfully to remove Nieder from the commission.

Reading Roby’s analysis of the events at the meeting is like listening to Jeff Roorda discuss cases of police misconduct – one has to untether oneself entirely from reality in order to accept what he is saying as in any way legitimate. Sweeney was professional!?!? Threatening to sic the police on a fellow board member? Now, undoubtedly the Arnold police would have complied with such a request, since Arnold police chief Robert Shockey is a Sweeney crony and Sweeney’s brother is an Arnold cop, but it would have been interesting to see if Crestwood’s police would have complied with this outrageous request.

Smoked Out

While the Arnold-Imperial Leader has yet to realize that Sweeney is a huckster (their coverage of Arnold ballotgate was abysmal), the Oakville Call has quickly figured Sweeney out. In an editorial, the paper’s executive editor called on Sweeney to apologize and for Roby to accept his offer of resignation.

In gaveling down Miller, Sweeney contended the resident was out of order. We believe the opposite is true.

Sweeney was out of order and created the disruption, as Miller was attempting to address the CUP request. Nieder defended Miller’s right to speak — after all, it was a public hearing — but Sweeney didn’t want to hear it, saying he was going to summon the Police Department.


Sweeney also didn’t like the fact that Nieder questioned whether he has a conflict. Ironically, Sweeney believes Nieder owes him an apology.

We believe Sweeney owes Nieder, Miller and Crestwood citizens an apology for his appalling behavior. In fact, Roby should accept Sweeney’s offer to resign. But that’s unlikely to happen, given Roby’s defense of Sweeney in an email to aldermen.

Citizens once were treated with respect in Crestwood. Just because Sweeney doesn’t want to hear what citizens have to say doesn’t give him the right to abuse them.

Amen! How refreshing to see a newspaper take Sweeney to task. I wish we could experience that in Jefferson County.

Sweeney was probably thinking that, since the Arnold regime he is a part of was able to publicly tarnish their biggest critic, Doris Borgelt, through bogus lawsuits, unfavorable coverage in the Leader, and election stunts, that he can easily dismiss any critics in Crestwood. I will grant that Miller seems to be a cantankerous gadfly and Nieder seems to be a bit brusque, but that does not excuse Sweeney’s behavior in any way.

The next Crestwood P&Z meeting is this Wednesday, June 3, at 7 pm. It might be an interesting meeting. Crestwood residents would be advised to pay close attention to this character.

If you would like to tell the Crestwood mayor how you feel, e-mail him here or go to his Facebook page.

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