Metro-East News

East St. Louis Township Board asks prosecutor to enforce ordinance barring supervisor’s spending

East St. Louis Township Supervisor Alvin Parks
East St. Louis Township Supervisor Alvin Parks dholtmann@bnd.com

East St. Louis Township trustees have voted to turn over their books and an ordinance barring Supervisor Alvin Parks from spending any township funds to St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly.

Trustees Edith Moore, Rico Moore and Scott Randolph voted earlier this month to approve the measure. Trustee Troy Mosley was absent from the meeting. Parks voted in opposition.

“It means that we will take the ordinance and documentation to the state’s attorney to decide whether there has been a violation of the ordinance,” Wagner told Parks and the trustees during the meeting.

On Wednesday, Kelly said he had not yet received anything from the township, but once he did receive it he would turn it over the Public Corruption Task Force for investigation.

Parks could not be reached for comment.

The board had previously decided to not allow any discretionary spending by Parks without prior board approval.

Payroll records obtained under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act show a check made payable to Parks. The check was originally made payable to Phil’s Lock Service, but the payee was scratched out with Parks’ initials. A letter showed township employee Keith Randolph took the $888.81 check as a salary advance. The memo line of the check stated “Advancement of K. Randolph Check (Payment to Ameren).” The check was signed by Parks and Scott Randolph, a township trustee and Keith Randolph’s father.

The township can offer general assistance payments to those who are younger than 60, have no dependents and receive no other state financial aid. Those payments typically are about $200 month, per individual.

East St. Louis Township is one of the poorest areas in the state. About 45 percent of its residents live below the federal poverty level. The township has an operating budget of $1.5 million, and its sole purpose is to provide general assistance and help the poor and elderly.

In 2016, a BND investigation found former Township Supervisor Oliver Hamilton may have spent more than $200,000 on gas, construction materials and gifts for his political allies. Hamilton is currently serving a 30-month federal prison sentence after federal agents were able to link at least $40,000 in improper spending on a taxpayer-supported American Express card in the township’s name. The township trustees had set a spending limit of $1,000 on the credit card.

In the November election, Parks defeated Tommy Dancy, who had been appointed to take over when Hamilton pleaded guilty.

The same month Parks was elected, the trustees voted for the spending moratorium. They said Parks was spending to beautify the township’s offices at the Clyde Jordan Senior Citizens Center at 6755 State St., including spending $9,850 with Bill Mason’s landscaping service to plant shrubs and install stonework.

In January, Parks paid Democratic precinct committeeman and former city councilman Mike Collins $550 to clear an inch of snow from the township office’s parking lot.

During the most recent meeting in July, Edith Moore expressed concern about the township’s finances. The township offers discounted meals for the elderly and operates a food pantry, along with providing general assistance for the needy.

“If we don’t make some drastic moves, we are going to have to shut the whole building down,” Moore said at the July meeting.

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