Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Recorder's Previous City Car Involved in Two Accidents

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Recorder's Previous City Car Involved in Two Accidents

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS * As Recorder of Deeds Sharon Quigley Carpenter waits for a new taxpayer-paid car, records reveal that her last city- owned vehicle was involved in two accidents and she wasn't behind the wheel.

In fact, she wasn't even in the car.

City records show Carpenter's husband, Robert Carpenter, had two minor accidents less than five months apart while driving his wife's taxpayer-paid Buick Lucerne. Robert Carpenter, now 76, appeared to be performing routine errands: picking up medication at Walgreens, stopping by a St. Louis Bread Co. at breakfast-time.

The city's vehicle policy manual forbids family members from driving city vehicles, but it doesn't suggest a penalty for such violations.

Sharon Carpenter kept control of the vehicle until her brief hiatus from office last year for violating the state's nepotism law. Now back in office after the election last November, Carpenter has requested a new city vehicle or a $700-per-month car allowance, spurring a debate over the necessity of elected officials having take-home cars during a time of budget constraints.

The city is proposing to voters a $180 million bond issue on the August ballot to pay for infrastructure and equipment, including vehicle replacements.

The Post-Dispatch requested all accident reports over the last five years for incidents related to vehicles assigned to elected officials. The city turned over the two incidents involving Carpenter's car, and another involving former Treasurer Larry Williams, who wasn't found to be at fault for a 2012 accident in his 2009 city-issued Mercury Grand Marquis.

Robert Carpenter's accidents both involved hitting parked cars. One occurred on May 5, 2012, in the parking lot of the St. Louis Bread Co. on Chippewa Avenue. The other was reported on Sept. 28, 2012, in the parking lot of a Walgreens on Hampton Avenue.

The city paid $616.56 for the first accident, according to records. A $1,300.62 payout was made for the second. Documents simply say the latter was paid by "Recorder of Deeds."

Sharon Carpenter didn't return calls to her office requesting comment.

The documents show she wasn't in the vehicle but say she was notified of the incidents shortly after they occurred. …

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