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Four city employees indicted

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By Maria Hickey, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – Four City of St. Louis employees have been indicted by a federal grand jury.

Street inspectors Lester Webster, John Stewart, and Leland Washington and sewer inspector August Bill Beckemeyer all face charges in connection with taking bribes.

Investigators says the scheme involved the city's Sewer Lateral Line Program, which is paid for by a special property tax and provides repairs to sewer lines from homes.

U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway explains how the alleged corruption took place

"What they would do is they were accepting payments from contractors for job referrals, they were pulling permits, they were approving change orders for unnecessary work and they were falsely certifying that they had completed inspections," Hanaway said.

All four men were taken into custody Friday.

Hanaway says investigators are not certain who instigated the scheme. She says if they find evidence of contractors who gave bribes they'll also be prosecuted.

Mayor Francis Slay says despite the indictments most city employees are honest and hardworking.

"It's unfortunate that you get a few bad apples but it's important when we get them as embarrassing as it might be that they are exposed, caught and eventually prosecuted," Slay said.

Slay says changes are being made to prevent such corruption.

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