Metro-East News

Videos suggest teens on party bus were promised pay for their votes

Former East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks
Former East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks

Two videos posted on YouTube appear to depict teenagers partying on a bus with alcohol and filling out election ballots. The teens are angry they were not paid after they filled out ballots for early voting in the April 4 election.

Roy Mosley Jr., a former Public Works director for the city of East St. Louis and a current St. Clair County Board member, is clearly seen on the video in the driver’s seat of the bus. Former Mayor Alvin Parks, currently a candidate for East St. Louis Township supervisor, acknowledged that the person driving the bus is Mosley.

Repeated efforts to reach Mosley for comment were unsuccessful.

In the first video, there is a group of young people on the bus with an open cooler of beer and liquor. Several of the young people are seen smoking cigarettes. Much of the audio is indistinguishable.

Some of the young people in the videos are seen smoking and passing liquor around. One of them pokes fun at having beer in a can (as opposed to bottles) and a voice talks about how cheaply they are being paid to vote. The title of the video claims to show a 16-year-old girl drinking.

The second video shows the same group of young people exiting the bus in a parking lot discussing their frustration at not being paid. Pictures of the individuals who are talking are not clearly in focus. But voices can be heard saying, “They played us to vote.” “Looks like we’re not gonna get paid.” “This is the cheapest I ever got paid to vote.” “This is a hell of a vote bus. I never did no (expletive) like this.”

Several people shout out “Alvin Parks — there’s Alvin Parks.” Others claim that a man seen getting into a gray SUV and leaving is Parks.

It is not clear who took the videos or posted them on YouTube.

Asked whether he had seen the videos, Parks said he had seen only one video and “people were acting mad because Alvin Parks didn’t buy any votes. The only thing you’re gonna catch me doing is working hard to win and doing the right thing.”

People were acting mad because Alvin Parks didn’t buy any votes. The only thing you’re gonna catch me doing is working hard to win and doing the right thing.

Alvin Parks, candidate for East St. Louis Township supervisor

Parks said the group was dropped off at East St. Louis City Hall for early voting. He said he just happened to be there to pick someone up.

“I am not sure where they were picked up because I wasn’t there when everything got started,” Parks said. “They were taken to City Hall to vote. They were early voters,” Parks said.

Parks said he doesn’t know where the liquor came from that’s on the bus. “It may have been brought on the bus by the folks who are on the bus. I don’t know where it came from.”

Asked about alleged vote buying on the bus, Parks said, “Fortunately there is no discussion on buying votes except for people looking for payment.”

Parks said Mosley told him he never discussed vote-buying with anyone.

Parks said in meetings with his campaign staff there have been many discussion on following the law to the letter.

“Many times we’ve had the discussion about staying within the law. ... If they want to do anything outside of the code of the State Board of Elections or outside of the constitution, we don’t want anything to do with it,” Parks said.

And if there has been any wrongdoing by people working on Parks’ behalf, “They have done so without the support of ‘Democrats Here To Help’ (Parks’ organization, which is a subsidiary of the East St. Louis Democratic Central Committee.)

Commenting on whether there was a 16-year-old on the bus, Parks said, “The Board of Elections would not let anyone vote who was not a registered voter.” He was not sure where the bus started to pick people up or where it was when the videos were shot.

St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly declined to comment, other than to say: “The videos have been received by multiple law enforcement agencies.”

He asked that if anyone has information about the passengers on the videos or any evidence of vote-buying, they should call the new joint federal and state public corruption task force number at 618-589-7353. Callers can remain anonymous, he said.