When we think about the recent audit of how East St. Louis was managing its cash and accounts, we keep getting images of Joel Grey and Liza Minelli prancing around the cabaret stage singing “money, money, money, money.”
We’re hopeful that is changing.
East St. Louis Mayor Emeka Jackson-Hicks requested an investigation and St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly announced one is underway involving the Illinois Department of Revenue and Illinois Liquor Control Commission. The more light brought into this situation, the better.
Part of the audit of former Mayor Alvin Parks’ administration found half of 48 businesses surveyed never paid a 1 percent city food and beverage tax and the other half paid sporadically. The audit also found 10 months of missing tow reports, missing bank records and $1.4 million in unrecorded wire transfers.
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Former city Treasurer Joe W. Lewis Jr. apparently never got the required bonding, so believing that his fiscal controls were loosey-goosey isn’t exactly a stretch. The trouble is that incompetence or neglect in public finances is an opening for smart thieves.
Kelly noted that the tax and tows being investigated could be a matter of shoddy record keeping, and not criminal acts. But what are the chances that Kelly is right and we’re not dealing with criminal activity?
Well, we wouldn’t want to bet money on it.