Editorials

Even a political tax cheat needs to earn a living, right?

East St. Louis Township offices on a warm day that did not cost taxpayers $550 for snow removal.
East St. Louis Township offices on a warm day that did not cost taxpayers $550 for snow removal. BND file photo

East St. Louis Township just keeps proving that it is not to be trusted with public money and exists just to give jobs to felons with political connections.

Former East St. Louis councilman and current Democratic precinct committeeman Michael Collins didn’t bother to pay federal income taxes for 13 years or state income taxes for 22 years. He was convicted of tax evasion and vote fraud, claiming his voting address was a modest home at 22 Loisel Drive in East St. Louis when he actually lived in an upscale home in Swansea. He was also convicted of vote fraud in the 2006 and 2008 elections.

So when there was a sprinkling of snow, maybe an inch, on Jan. 15, who comes to clear the township parking lot? Collins. Plus he charges taxpayers $550 for his effort.

The convicted felon who made his living off other people’s taxes but refused to pay them himself for decades is the only person township Supervisor Alvin Parks can find to clear the snow? No one on the township maintenance staff was available? None of the township’s needy EarnFare recipients wanted the work, a job that would have paid $16.50 if one person were able to stretch it out to two hours?

Collins finished his 50-month stint in the federal pen in 2014 and started paying $300 a month towards his $324,000 tax bill. He will satisfy the debt only if he lives another 90 years.

There is no reason for the township to exist. It mirrors the city boundaries and is a hotbed for corruption, including $230,000 looted by the former supervisor, $800,000 in summer jobs money, shady loans and disappearing certificates of deposit. Now $550 for snow removal.

For $550, Collins should have been clearing snow from the runway at MidAmerica Airport, not just a township parking lot.

Oops. Sorry. Didn’t mean to give him any ideas for his next publicly-funded snow job.

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