Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Stenger Says He Has 'A Deep and Constant Feeling of Remorse' for Multiple Fraud Schemes

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Stenger Says He Has 'A Deep and Constant Feeling of Remorse' for Multiple Fraud Schemes

Article excerpt

CLAYTON -- Former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, in a letter to the judge that will sentence him Friday, said he has a "a deep and constant feeling of remorse" for his pay-to-play fraud schemes that betrayed county residents.

Stenger wrote that his motivations for originally running for a county council position in 2008 were "simple and pure. I hoped to make life better for those in the community in which I was raised." Instead, he admitted that he put "winning political fights and amassing political capital and campaign contributions" ahead of county residents.

Stenger also apologized to constituents and employees and officers of county government, the St. Louis County Port Authority and the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership.

Stenger's letter was among a series filed by his lawyers Sunday along with a sentencing memo that asks for the low end of the federal sentencing guidelines of 37 to 46 months in prison. The letter does not respond to a memo from prosecutors filed Friday that paints Stenger as a mercenary politician and vindictive bully.

The defense memo suggests that Stenger, 47, should get no more than 37 months, citing his remorse, his accomplishments in office, his prepayment of $130,000 in restitution, and the forfeiture of his legal and accounting licenses. Stenger, they say, started a prescription drug monitoring program to help fight the opioid epidemic, supported a sales tax increase for county police and made efforts to win a criminal justice reform grant for the University of Missouri.

The memo also mentions that his wife is pregnant with the couple's third child, due in September. The other two children are 5 and 3.

Most of the letters speak of Stenger's remorse, and several discuss the hard work he put in while younger, singing, working in fast-food restaurants and sweeping floors to put himself through law school. …

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