© 2023 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Reality check: The facts on Blunt's $1.5 million lot remain murky

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 21, 2010 - What's the truth about the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's TV spot that spoofs Republican Roy Blunt's status and style in Washington? The aim of the spot is to make Blunt appear part of Washington's social elite and out of touch with Missouri.

Despite initial denials from the Blunt camp, the ad accurately states that the congressman's family (technically, his wife's trust) owns a $1 million-plus residential lot. His congressional financial disclosure report lists the lot, with its address.

(The denial was based on an initial inaccurate address used by the DSCC in a letter to TV stations. The committee corrected that mistake and has listed the right address in a release sent last week.)

But the ad is incorrect in stating that Blunt currently is building a house on it. The lot, and design plans, are for sale for $1.6 million.

Blunt's staff denies that a building permit has been issued. However, records with the Washington, D.C., tax/revenue office show that there is some sort of building permit. (Here's the link: http://citizenatlas.dc.gov/atlasapps/propertyreports.aspx?SAR=administrative&ownerID=2709455. )

A Blunt spokesman said Tuesday that it is inaccurate to say that "there were building permits paid for and obtained by the Blunts. That is false."

As for the design plans, spokesman Rich Chrismer explained, "The Blunts hired an architect to draw up home plans in hopes it would help sell the property — not to actually build a home themselves."

The ad also inaccurately states that Abigail Blunt is a tobacco lobbyist. She used to be one, but now lobbies for Kraft Foods.

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.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.