Editorials

East St. Louis Township must go next

Poor township's leader spends $230K on AmEx card

Silent video: Don't try to adjust your volume. This is a graphics-only video. East St. Louis Township Supervisor Oliver W. Hamilton spent $230,000 over a four-year period ending in June. An initial investigation of 18 months of his purchases throu
Up Next
Silent video: Don't try to adjust your volume. This is a graphics-only video. East St. Louis Township Supervisor Oliver W. Hamilton spent $230,000 over a four-year period ending in June. An initial investigation of 18 months of his purchases throu

Spending $84,970 on a credit card in 18 months would take a little concerted effort on the part of most folks, but it apparently comes easy when you “do what we need to do to help people.”

East St. Louis Township Supervisor Oliver W. Hamilton is the leader of a government unit that’s sole function is to hand out aid to the needy. It does not fix any roads or any territory that is not in the City of East St. Louis, so like Belleville Township and Granite City Township, it is a relic of government trying to find a reason to exist.

It pulled $1.6 million in taxes out of a community in which 45.4 percent of the residents live in poverty. It handed out only $285,780 in help for those same impoverished residents, or 18 cents of every $1. The rest of the taxes, plus a $2.5 million deficit, was spent on political jobs, overhead and the $84,970 in charges Hamilton racked up on the township’s American Express card.

We are close to getting rid of Belleville Township because it only delivered 19 cents in aid to the needy for every $1 taxed. East St. Louis Township is worse, plus the Belleville Township supervisor was not taking trips to Las Vegas, was not visiting his favorite Home Depot in Collinsville 71 times to spend $17,019 on items such as laser-guided saws, was not putting $1,108 in tractor tires on his personal property and was not burning up $11,989 in gas.

Any government taking so much from residents and delivering so little value is reprehensible. East St. Louis Township is stealing from the poor and needs to be eliminated, just like Belleville Township, and quickly now that the trail has already been marked. Let the city take over the minor function of handing out about $300,000 in aid, but have them tax only that amount and distribute it with existing staff.

Hamilton’s spending is beyond reprehensible and needs a close investigation. Township trustees being clueless to that much money being frittered away on a charge card, let’s be generous and say they were negligent and that they offer another reason why the township must go away.

  Comments