The head of the St. Louis County Health Department answered questions this afternoon about an ongoing investigation into a possible misuse of funds, but it remains unclear how much money could be missing.
At the center of the investigation is Edward Mueth, a top official in the department that allegedly set up a computer company that may have over billed the county for goods and services.
Mueth committed suicide one day before he was scheduled to answer questions about a budget item that fell under his supervision.
Health Director Dolores Gunn remembered Mueth as an ideal employee and said the scheme appears to be highly sophisticated.
“And I said ‘Edward Mueth, are we really sure that this is the same one, is there not some other Ed Mueth out there?'’’ Gunn said. “This is the crew cut, stand tall guy we all know, who's been in our corner, gone through emergency preparedness with us. But when it became pretty evident that this was the same person, then we needed to do our jobs and we needed to move.”
Gunn declined to put a dollar amount on how much money could be missing, but said it was not millions and millions of dollars.
“If we were over billed we need to find out, and that’s where we’re at in the investigation,” Gunn said.
Gunn said officials are going line by line though expense reports with the company, Gateway Technical Solutions. The contract dates back to 2008, and investigators are trying to reconcile the difference between what the county received and what it was charged.
Mueth apparently lived a lavish lifestyle given his salary as a county health employee, owning an expansive home in Webster Groves and expensive vehicles.
In response to whether or not she was surprised to learn of Mueth’s expensive home and cars, Gunn responded: “When you talk to people in the office, you know, rumors go around that someone died and left him money. But you never know.”
Gunn indicated that insurance could cover some of the money the county lost.
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