An investigative series by Belleville News-Democrat reporters Beth Hundsdorfer and George Pawlaczyk about East St. Louis Township Supervisor Oliver Hamilton’s use of a public credit card to make hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal purchases won a President’s Award from McClatchy.
The series led to criminal charges against Hamilton and others. Hundsdorfer and Pawlaczyk won for the second straight year and third time overall. They won last year for stories on local law enforcement’s failure to prosecute sexual assault and abuse cases.
Hamilton used the township credit card for items such as plane tickets to Las Vegas for himself and his wife, tires for a tractor used by his construction company, building supplies including drywall and paint, thousands of dollars in car washes and nearly $40,000 in gasoline.
Hamilton, who was charged with federal wire fraud and misuse of public funds, is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis.
Major stories in the News-Democrat’s Hamilton investigation include:
March 27: Hamilton’s deal with feds won’t deter corruption, judge writes
March 24: Local corruption probe results in felony charges for six people
March 23: Oliver Hamilton sentencing memorandum
Feb. 28: Hamilton sentencing rescheduled; admits misuse of credit card was ‘shameless’
Jan. 13: East St. Louis Township Board proposed financial reforms; consultant resigns
Dec. 26: This is what’s next for poverty-stricken East St. Louis Township
Dec. 9: Hamilton resigns as ESL township supervisor; Dancy named as replacement
Dec. 5: Nine face corruption charges, including ESL councilwoman, Board of Review member
Dec. 2: ‘He’s ashamed of himself’: East St. Louis supervisor pleads guilty
Nov. 18: Hamilton was supposed to pay workers $40.66 an hour. But did he?
Nov. 16: Oliver charged with misusing more than $40,000 in public funds
Sept. 23: Township audits fail to mention $280,000 in credit card spending
Sept. 3: Baked ham, tour boat cruise: Excess marks ESL Township credit cards
Aug. 20: Hamilton’s ex-girlfriend ran housing office that processed contracts he won
Aug. 10: FBI raids East St. Louis Township offices
Aug. 6: ‘Mind-boggling’ waste and corruption: Public pays thousands for car washes
July 29: What $1,000 limit? Township officials charged $210,000 over four years on credit cards
July 2: East St. Louis Township supervisor did not report $200,000 paid to his company
June 10: Public money used to rehab East St. Louis Township supervisor’s boarding house
June 8: Federal investigation underway into East St. Louis Township finances
June 3: East St. Louis Township credit card used for Las Vegas trips, $34 car washes