Poor township's leader spends $230K on AmEx card
An East St. Louis township official was charged Tuesday with spending more than $40,000 of township money on personal purchases.
Oliver Hamilton, who is the East St. Louis Township supervisor, was charged with wire fraud Tuesday in U.S. District Court.
Hamilton is scheduled to plead guilty at 10 a.m. on Dec. 1, according to court records.
A News-Democrat investigation showed Hamilton spent $230,000 on an American Express card from Jan. 1, 2012, to June 2016. The investigation found Hamilton used the credit card to pay for various personal items including Las Vegas trips, $34 car washes and flowers and gifts for his political allies.
The card assigned to Hamilton, who owns a construction company, also was used to buy paint, drywall, lumber, cabinetry, power tools, tractor tires, locks, nails and bathroom fixtures. All of these purchases were sales tax exempt.
According to information filed in Hamilton’s case, the offenses took place from March 2011 through June 2016. The charges accuse him of using public money for more than $40,000 in personal purchases, and state that he “misrepresented that the use of public funds was for legitimate public purpose.”
According to a federal court document, Hamilton waived indictment. The document is signed by Hamilton and his attorney, Clyde Kuehn of Belleville. Kuehn could not be reached.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Norm Smith and U.S. Attorney Donald Boyce signed the criminal information that stated the charges.