On a Monday morning in 2002, Pam Dougherty, an accountant at the St. Clair County Intergovernmental Grants Department, arrived at the office and found a man going through her desk drawers.
Dougherty found James T. Hodgkinson looking for a check she had sent out the Friday before.
Hodgkinson worked as an independent contractor for the Grants Department’s federally-funded housing rehabilitation and weatherization programs.
“I asked him what he was doing and he told me he was getting his check. I informed him that his check had been mailed out on the previous Friday, and he was wondering why he hadn’t received it,” Dougherty wrote in a memo detailing her encounter. “He was very angry.”
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“He proceeded to go downstairs to what used to be Union Planters Bank and scream at them as to why he hadn’t received his check in the mail,” Doughtery wrote.
Hodgkinson was killed on Wednesday while he shot at members of the GOP congressional baseball team, who were practicing in Alexandria, Virginia.
Between 2000 and 2003, St. Clair County paid Hodgkinson $143,010.20 for work he completed, according to county documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Most of the payments, which ranged from $188 to $19,255, made by the county were in 2002, according to the documents. The final check he was issued was in February 2003.
The county banned Hodgkinson from doing work for the county’s grants programs because of the episode where he was caught searching the desk.
I asked him what he was doing and he told me he was getting his check. I informed him that his check had been mailed out on the previous Friday and he was wondering why he hadn’t received it. He was very angry.
Pam Dougherty, St. Clair County Intergovernmental Grants Department accountant
“It’s unacceptable behavior, it was strange; he was sneaky, in what he was doing. It’s certainly not the type of activity we want,” St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern told KSDK.
In 2012, Hodgkinson inquired about becoming a weatherization contractor again for the Intergovernmental Grants Department, according to a memo written by weatherization program coordinator Ken Kimball.
“I told (him) the requirements and he indicated he would get back to me if he wanted to pursue becoming a weatherization contractor,” Kimball wrote.
Hodgkinson never returned the paperwork to register.
Several St. Clair County employees, many who have been involved in local Democratic Party politics, say they had never heard of Hodgkinson before Wednesday, and the state board of elections has no records of him donating to or working for local Democratic Party politicians.
Hodgkinson was a Bernie Sanders supporter, and volunteered for the Vermont senator’s presidential campaign.
U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana, who is the House majority whip, as well as three other people were shot in Hodgkinson’s attack.