Politics & Government

East St. Louis mayor defends hiring woman facing felony charges to handle TIF money

Convicted township leader’s sister faces loan fraud charge

June Hamilton Dean on Wednesday afternoon surrendered at the St. Clair County Jail to be processed for a felony loan fraud charge. Charges state she and her brother, former East St. Louis Township supervisor Oliver Hamilton, took out a $200,000 lo
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June Hamilton Dean on Wednesday afternoon surrendered at the St. Clair County Jail to be processed for a felony loan fraud charge. Charges state she and her brother, former East St. Louis Township supervisor Oliver Hamilton, took out a $200,000 lo

East St. Louis Mayor Robert Eastern III said Friday he is monitoring the legal case involving the city’s new community development director, who faces two felony charges.

Eastern defended the hiring of June Hamilton-Dean, who faces two felony cases, including a charge for forgery. He cited her more than 30 years of work for the Defense Department including as a lead financial analyst and acting branch chief. Hamilton-Dean also is a former East St. Louis city councilwoman and former financial consultant for East St. Louis Township.

“However, I am aware of Ms. June Dean’s legal issues that she will be facing in the near future,” Eastern said as he read his one-minute long statement during a news conference. “Our office will be monitoring this situation and if warranted, we will re-evaluate the position at that time.”

He refused to answer a reporter’s question about whether the job was posted before Hamilton-Dean was hired and left the room before anyone could ask questions.

At the time she was originally charged she went by June Hamilton-Dean. She is listed on the St. Clair County Circuit Clerk’s website as June H. Dean, and Eastern referred to her as June Dean during his press conference. She has refused to speak to the News-Democrat.

Hamilton-Dean was hired to be the community development director for $73,000 a year. She will also serve as TIF director and oversee a department with a budget of $12 million.

Hamilton-Dean had been charged in October 2017 for allegedly claiming to First Illinois Bank that she was authorized by the East St. Louis Township Board to take out a $200,000 loan, the proceeds of which were supposed to fund a youth employment program, until the township received grant money from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, according to a BND investigation.

Two counts of loan fraud against Hamilton-Dean were dismissed in May. Pretrial hearings on two remaining counts — forgery and performing an act that is forbidden by a public official — are scheduled to begin in September in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Hamilton-Dean was among seven metro-east public officials, which included her brother, Oliver Hamilton, who were arrested in December 2016 on corruption charges.

Oliver Hamilton was sentenced to five years in federal prison for wire fraud for making more than $230,000 in “questionable purchases” on a township-issued American Express card while he was East St. Louis Township supervisor. Among the purchases were trips to Las Vegas, supplies for his business, gasoline for his personal truck, car washes, and donations and gifts to friends. The discovery of the credit card purchases also were part of a BND investigation.

Oliver Hamilton must serve 85 percent of his sentence, or 51 months. He is currently in the federal penitentiary in Marion. His release date is listed as Oct. 28, 2021, by the federal Bureau of Prisons.

During the brief statement, Mayor Eastern announced the city would begin aggressively working on demolition of derelict houses and exploring new development projects in the next few months. Hamilton-Dean was hired to help begin the work, Eastern said.

The Rebuild Illinois capital plan includes $2 million for the city to use for demolition projects.

Joseph Bustos is the state affairs and politics reporter for the Belleville News-Democrat, where he strives to hold elected officials accountable and provide context to decisions they make. He has won multiple awards from the Illinois Press Association for coverage of sales tax referenda.
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