In my day job in journalism, I am often in the fool's position of telling people things they think they already know, like you can't trust politicians and government is corrupt.
However, I have found, after a few years in the power-politics trenches, it is very different to uncover evidence of these things than it is to knowingly assume they are true without detailed proof - attached to the names and faces of people who live in your own town.
This week, of course, the St. Louis American followed the scandal surrounding Police Chief Joe Mokwa's troubled daughter Aimie Mokwa and her suspicious access to impounded vehicles owned by citizens, but temporarily in the custody of the City and S&H Towing.
When the daily paper does its job, as the Post-Dispatch has been doing on this story, the weekly press spends a lot of time summing up and commenting upon their work. But we do add something new to the conversation this morning. It's this bit:
In another twist, according to incorporation documents filed with the Missouri Secretary of State’s office, attorney Paul Simon Jr. (a principal at Sauerwein, Simon & Blanchard in Clayton) is listed as S&H Towing’s registered agent. A Secretary of State Corporate Division spokesperson said a registered agent is the contact person, not necessarily owner, and may be retained to assist with filings.
According to City records, Ken Bialczak signed for S&H when it paid for its most recent business license - for a $1,500 fee, appropriate for businesses with 11-20 employees - as well as for a recent application to operate a wrecker.
Neither Simon Jr. not Bialczak immediately returned calls to the American yesterday.
Paul Simon Jr. is the son of retired Missouri Court of Appeals Judge Paul J. Simon and the brother of former Public Safety Director Sam Simon, a former City police officer.
According to Mayor Slay’s Wikipedia site, the Slay and Simon families are related. The Slay and Simon families have political and business connections that date back decades. According to his official bio, Mayor Slay also was a law clerk for Judge Simon.
Of course, Sam Simon - brother of "registered agent" of S&H Towing, Paul Simon Jr. - is also the Slay cousin who "served" as director of Public Safety and collaborated with the firefighters union to undermine Fire Chief Sherman George and run him out of the fire service.
One can only hope the citizens of St. Louis begin to take the time to learn in detail the things they think they already know and work to improve their city government. The folks we are paying to run this thing are no good at all.
Thanks to somebody's Flickr site for that ominous image of City Hall.