St. Louis Board of Aldermen President, 2 others indicted by federal grand jury

Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 12:07 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 2, 2022 at 3:30 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) – Three people, including the St. Louis Board of Aldermen President, have been indicted by a federal grand jury on corruption charges.

The indictment was unsealed Thursday against Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed, 22nd Ward Alderman Jeffrey Boyd and recently resigned 21st Ward Alderman John Collins-Muhammad. They are all accused of getting substantial and numerous cash payments in exchange for political favors and land deals.

The indictment details their alleged involvement with a “John Doe.” The alleged crimes happened from Jan. 1, 2020, to March 31, 2022. One of the properties in the mentioned indictment was in Collins-Muhammad’s ward and the other was listed as Boyd’s ward at the time.

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The indictment alleges all three used their “official capacity” as Board of Aldermen members and accepted payments to assist John Doe, a small business owner. According to the charges, Collins-Muhammad and Reed helped John Doe get property tax abatement in exchange for cash bribes. Boyd allegedly also accepted cash bribes to help the same business owner obtain city-owned property for thousands of dollars less than it’s worth, and also helped John Doe to get a tax abatement for the project.

Collins-Muhammad is accused of accepting and agreeing to accept cash, campaign contributions, a car and other things of value in relation to two of John Doe’s projects and his trucking/hauling company. He also is accused of using a cellular phone with the intent of the criminal activity. He was also indicted for knowingly participating in a scheme to “defraud and deprive” the citizens in his ward, and of wire fraud. He was indicted on two bribery-related charges and one charge of honest services bribery/wire fraud.

Reed allegedly took a stream of cash payments and campaign donations “intending to be influenced and rewarded in connection with a business, transaction and series of transactions” related to one of John Doe’s projects and his company. He also is accused of using his cellular phone for criminal activity. He was indicted on two bribery-related charges.

Boyd is accused of knowingly accepting things of value, including cash and car repairs with the intent of being “influenced and rewarded.” He also allegedly used a cellular phone to commit criminal activity. He was indicted on two bribery-related charges and a separate two counts of wire fraud for allegedly fraudulently seeking $22,000 from his insurance company.

In May, Collins-Muhammad announced his resignation from the Board of Alderman. In a letter to Reed that was posted on Twitter, he wrote, “it has been the honor of a lifetime to serve the people of the City of St. Louis. I have made mistakes and I take full responsibility for those mistakes.” He served on the Board of Alderman from 2017 to 2022.

Reed was appointed the President of the Board of Aldermen in 2007. Following the indictment, he told News 4 he was not resigning and that he has “been a good steward and will continue to be a good steward for the city.”

Boyd, a 22nd Ward Alderman, was appointed in 2003.

The trio were all indicted on May 25 and made their first court appearance Thursday.

St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones’ office sent the following statement regarding the allegations:

“Mayor Jones is deeply troubled by the allegations outlined by the US Attorney against Alderman Jeffrey Boyd, Alderman John Collins-Muhammad, and President Lewis Reed. Our office will monitor this case as it progresses through the legal system.”

Tyson M. Pruitt, Public Information Officer for Comptroller Darlene Green, provided a statement as well:

“Comptroller Darlene Green is saddened and disappointed by the actions asserted in today’s indictment of President Lewis Reed, Alderman Jeffrey Boyd and former Alderman John Collins-Muhammad. Comptroller Green believes St. Louis city residents deserve elected officials who look out for the people’s interests.”