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Government, Politics & Issues

Boyd resigns as alderman a day after being indicted on corruption charges

St. Louis Alderman Jeffrey Boyd walks to the Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. Courthouse in downtown St. Louis.
Brian Munoz
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St. Louis Public Radio
Jeffrey Boyd, shown entering the federal courthouse in downtown St. Louis on Thursday, has resigned his seat on the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.

St. Louis Alderman Jeffrey Boyd resigned Friday — the day after he was indicted with two other officials on corruption charges.

Boyd resigned after attending the board’s weekly meeting Friday morning. A special election will be held to fill his post.

“It has been a great pleasure to serve the residents of the 22nd Ward for over 19 years, and I'm proud of the good work we as a community have accomplished,” Boyd wrote in an email sent to the board’s clerk. “It has also been a pleasure to work with so many aldermen/alderwomen over the years.”

His attorney said the decision was not part of a deal with the federal government.

Mayor Tishaura Jones, who often found herself at odds with Boyd, said in a statement that he "needed to go."

"The residents of the 22nd ward will be better served by an Alderman who is not facing federal corruption charges," she said.

Otherwise, fallout from the corruption scandal that ensnared Boyd, aldermanic President Lewis Reed and former 21st Ward Alderman John Collins-Muhammad seemed outwardly minimal Friday as the board held its first meeting since the federal charges were announced.

The 66-page indictment made public Thursday outlines a complex scheme in which Boyd, Reed and Collins-Muhammad accepted cash, cars and other gifts from a small-business owner in the city in exchange for passing legislation, such as tax abatements, favorable to the owner. All three have pleaded not guilty.

Indictments of 3 high-profile St. Louis officials shake up Board of Aldermen
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Both Reed and Boyd attended the meeting, though Reed handed over presiding officer duties to 10th Ward Alderman Joe Vollmer. Some progressive aldermen had pledged not to attend if Reed were in charge.

The lone legislative impact so far is a delay in a resolution authorizing tax abatement for a warehouse improvement project in Boyd’s ward. Detractors of Boyd’s initially tried to force it back to committee for additional review.

“I certainly understand what some of my colleagues are trying to do,” Boyd said. “But this company has done nothing wrong. Everything has been decent and in order. There is absolutely no reason to send this back.”

Boyd did accept a suggestion from 1st Ward Alderwoman Sharon Tyus to hold the resolution to give people time to read it and “feel more comfortable with it.”

“Anyone who talked to me about what happened [Thursday] got an innocent until proven guilty speech from me,” Tyus said. “But I think we could take a timeout.”

Officials with the company, FW Logistics, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on if or how a delay on receiving the abatements would affect the project.

Aldermen usually handle development incentives for projects in their wards. It’s not clear whether someone could move the resolution forward on Boyd’s behalf, or if whoever is elected to fill his post in late August could do so.

Twelfth Ward Alderman Bill Stephens said he plans to prepare a resolution that would place a moratorium on legislation offering new incentives. He said in follow-up tweets that he was “absolutely open” to allowing currently pending legislation to be completed, and that he hoped the indictments would force a “conversation and a reckoning with how our City utilizes this economic development tool.”

Plans to hold the meeting in chambers at City Hall were waylaid by positive COVID tests among members and staff, but that did not deter about a dozen protesters from gathering at City Hall to demand that Reed and Boyd resign.

“The facts are clear,” said Marquis Govan, one of the rally’s organizers.

He said he had read the indictment and called it “damning.”

Reed said Thursday he would not resign because he had not been found guilty of anything. Collins-Muhammad resigned in May.

Federal prosecutors said in court that they will turn over the evidence used to build the indictment to defense attorneys by Monday.

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