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Russ Carnahan sells 'Royal Nuisance,' but boat continues to be a political pain

The "Attractive Nuisance'' may be gone, but the controversy continues surrounding the non-working cabin cruiser by that name that had been co-owned by U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis.

Carnahan aides confirmed this afternoon that Carnahan and three other co-owners -- Aldermanic President Lewis Reed and the two politicians' wives -- succeeded in selling the boat last month. It had been on the block for two years, aides say. It also has been non-working for most of that time, said campaign spokeswoman Angela Barranco

The boat sold for $11,500, with each partner receiving $2,875, Barranco said.

No back taxes were owed or paid, she added.

One of Carnahan's GOP rivals, local lawyer Ed Martin, has been claiming for weeks that taxes may have been owed, even if Carnahan lived in St. Louis and the vessel was moored in Alton. Martin had held a news conference on the matter Wednesday, before learning of the boat's sale. He declined to take credit for its departure.

Barranco made clear that Carnahan is sick of the controversy. "This is not a story but a charade - the boat has been for sale for over two years and there are no taxes owed,'' she said "As first mate for the Blunt administration, Ed Martin's 'Memogate' scandal cost Missouri taxpayers over $2.4 million. Ed Martin's using this as a smokescreen to hide his resignation from public service."

She is referring to the controversy that Carnahan hopes to keep afloat: Martin's old job as chief of staff to then-Gov. Matt Blunt, and Martin's involvement in a dispute -- which spawned lawsuits -- over the office's routine destruction of e-mails that critics said needed to be preserved under the state's laws governing open records and record preservation.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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