Friday, May 25, 2012

St. Louis County Council member gets contract despite bankruptcy

St. Louis County Council member Kathleen Burkett has been selected to operate the Maplewood License Office, one of the top revenue-producing fee offices in the state, even though she was in bankruptcy last year and owed federal income taxes dating to 2008.
The Missouri Department of Revenue last week approved the application from Burkett, a Democrat from Overland, over eight others. The state gave Burkett the highest overall score, and also scored her highest in a category that included financial stability and experience.

Through bankruptcy, Burkett was able to shed about $130,000 in credit card bills to such retailers as Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale's and Macy's. Burkett filed for bankruptcy in March 2011 and her debts were discharged in July. Her petition also noted that she owed $8,356 in federal income taxes, which cannot be discharged through bankruptcy, for 2008 and 2009.

Burkett, 66, has served on the County Council since 2002 and is running for re-election.

"This is what I've done my entire life, for 47 years," Burkett said. "There's nobody — and I'm saying this with complete confidence — in the state of Missouri who has more knowledge or capability to run a license office than I do." Maybe so, but the fact remains that Burkett's bankruptcy supports the fact she does not know how to handle finances. If the bankruptcy was for issues such as health related expenses, that's one thing, but this was for Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale's, etc. 

When Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon took office in 2009, he vowed to reform the Missouri tradition of awarding fee offices to political allies as patronage plums.

A spokesman for Dave Spence, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, asserted that the Burkett selection was purely political.

"It is beyond comprehension how someone who recently filed for bankruptcy could receive the highest score for financial management," the spokesman, Jared Craighead, said. "The fact is that one of Nixon's political cronies was in financial trouble and they found a way to help her by giving her a fee office."

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  1. Anonymous10:55 AM

    Wake up Voters. The corrupt elected officials, continue to abuse and steal from citizens and voters.

    Voters, we have to stop this corruption.

  2. Anonymous5:12 PM

    Is there anyone except the people running various governments that can't figure out why we're broke?

  3. Anonymous10:33 AM

    Good soldiers are rewarded.