Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Embattled St. Louis County Tax Collector Resigns

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Embattled St. Louis County Tax Collector Resigns

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS COUNTY Stacy Bailey, the county collector of revenue who touched off a firestorm of criticism after revelations that she had not paid her personal property taxes, resigned Monday.

Pressure had mounted on county officials to oust Bailey since last week, when the Post-Dispatch reported her tax and financial problems. In addition to not paying personal property taxes since 2008, Bailey and her husband have filed for bankruptcy.

County administration officials and council members acknowledged receiving scores of calls from residents angry about a tax collector who was years behind on her own taxes.

County Executive Charlie A. Dooley on Monday described Bailey's hiring as "a huge, embarrassing error" on the part of her boss, Director of Revenue Eugene Leung.

"Gene Leung is a trusted county employee who made an honest error, a mistake, that made us all look like we were stumbling around," Dooley said. "I think we learned something as we go forward. We've got to do a better job doing background checks and get the confidence of the public back in hand again."

Dooley said Leung would not be disciplined over the matter. Leung could not be reached for comment.

Bailey, 40, of north St. Louis County, was hired last month to oversee the county's real estate and personal property tax collections. She and her husband, William Bailey, owe $4,801 in back taxes on their three vehicles. The couple also filed for bankruptcy last year, citing debts of nearly $393,000.

Dooley said he was not involved in Bailey's hiring and did not apply pressure on her to quit.

"This was a civil service hire and was not in my purview," he said.

Leung and other county officials had said they did not learn about her tax and financial problems until last week. Still, they continued to insist that she was the most qualified among 155 applicants for the job.

Then, on Friday, two prominent Democratic county officials, Prosecutor Robert P. McCulloch and County Council Chairman Mike O'Mara, weighed in with demands for Bailey's ouster. …

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