East St. Louis Township Supervisor Oliver W. Hamilton Sr. is scheduled to plead guilty Dec. 1 to a federal wire fraud charge. The charge states he took at least $40,000.
Here’s why that should make you angry.
He’s obviously got a plea deal. The feds will tell us it is worth the deal because Hamilton is going to rat out others who steal from our region’s poorest residents. Hamilton will spend maybe a year or so at some federal prison camp making crafts and exercising in the yard. He’ll get out and surface in some other government job, assuming he doesn’t rat out the wrong people.
How could we know all this? Because we’ve seen this movie before and it always ends the same way.
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News-Democrat reporters uncovered $230,000 in township credit card spending by Hamilton that was blatant theft from taxpayers in a community where nearly half the residents live in poverty. He was no embezzlement mastermind. He didn’t bother covering his tracks. You’d think the feds, with some decent forensic accounting, could tally more than $40K.
The promise of “bigger fish” will never pan out, or at least not be as bad as Hamilton with his credit card thefts and public housing renovation scams and $25,000 taken in tax increment financing to fix up the tiny shack in which he claims to live. He never fixed the shack, but there are 24 registered voters supposedly living there. Hamilton lives on the bluffs in Caseyville, not in the poor township he was elected to help.
And because the feds did their little backroom deal and won’t lower the hammer on Hamilton, this stuff will continue and the communities below the bluffs will continue to harbor corruption and a parade of predators such as Randy McCallum, Michael Baxton, Michael Collins, Ruby Cook, Charlie Powell Jr., Kelvin Ellis, Callie Mobley, Gerald Zitta, Leander Brooks ...
Nothing gets cleaned up if you use a feather duster instead of taking out the trash.