Metro-East News

East St. Louis Township supervisor did not report $200,000 paid to his company

East St. Louis Township Supervisor Oliver Hamilton outside the Township Offices which are located at the Clyde Jordan Senior Center on State Street in East St. Louis.
East St. Louis Township Supervisor Oliver Hamilton outside the Township Offices which are located at the Clyde Jordan Senior Center on State Street in East St. Louis. tvizer@bnd.com

East St. Louis Township Supervisor Oliver Hamilton failed to report more than $200,000 paid to a construction company he owns on mandatory state economic interest statements, according to copies of the reports.

The money came in the form of payments by the East St. Louis Housing Authority to Hamilton Contractors from 2012-2014.

Illinois law requires public officials to submit these economic interest reports annually. Filing false information or failure to report is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine or up to a year in jail. Hamilton has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

“I am getting ready to send it in,” Hamilton said Thursday, but then added, “I have been advised by my attorney not to talk to anybody about anything.” He declined further comment.

East St. Louis Township is under federal investigation, according to a subpoena issued in June to Hamilton and other township officials. The subpoena, which sought financial records, was served June 3 at township headquarters in the Clyde Jordan Senior Center a few hours after the BND published an investigative story about township finances.

The BND reported that Hamilton spent nearly $85,000 in 18 months on a township American Express card on gasoline for personal trips, construction materials, trips to Las Vegas and tires for a backhoe owned by his construction company.

I am getting ready to send it in.

East St. Louis Township Supervisor Oliver Hamilton said of incomplete economic interest statements

The economic interest statements require most elected and certain appointed officials in Illinois to list personal income derived from any government entity, not including the one for which he or she works.

A BND review of public records showed that the city housing authority paid Hamilton Contractors $100,000 in 2012 and 2013 each and $17,250 in 2014. Hamilton’s firm also has a current $8,000 annual grass cutting contract with the city of East St. Louis, which was not reported.

On the forms he filed, Hamilton answered “N/A” or not applicable to all eight questions, including: “List the name of any unit of government which employed the person making the statement during the preceding calendar year” aside from the township.

Economic interests statements have long been used in Illinois. Completed statements are filed with the Illinois Secretary of State Index Office, and copies are usually available from county clerks.

Bill Schroeder, a professor of criminal and federal law at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, said, “They are designed to give the people of a very corrupt state the impression that something is being done to weed out the corruption.”

St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly confirmed that his office is working with “federal partners” in an ongoing investigation of township finances. He declined to respond to specific questions about Hamilton’s economic interest statements.

They are designed to give the people of a very corrupt state the impression that something is being done to weed out the corruption.

Bill Schroeder, professor of criminal and federal law at Southern Illinois University Carbondale

All four East St. Louis Township board members completed economic interest statements, and two included revenue from other units of government. Edith Moore wrote that she is the economic development director for the city of East St. Louis, and Ricky Eastern stated he is employed by the county as a heavy equipment operator. Board members Troy Mosley and Michael Roberts listed no other governmental employment or revenue.

Hamilton’s sister, June Hamilton Dean, who is paid $33,000 per year by the township as a financial consultant, listed her employment as a member of the East St. Louis City Council and as a civilian employee at Scott Air Force Base.

In Madison County, alleged failure to properly complete an economic interests statement resulted in an investigation of former Metro-East Sanitary District board member and current Venice Township Supervisor Andy Economy.

The News-Democrat reported that Economy’s statements did not list nearly $40,000 in payments by the sanitary district board, of which he was chairman, to Economy’s private business, Andy’s Auto Body and Towing in Mitchell. Other payments not reported included $162,686 from the city of Granite City and $1,000 by America’s Central Port District.

Economy resigned from the sanitary district board in November at the urging of Madison County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan.

  Comments