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U City Man Files Ethics Complaint Against County Library

Tom Sullivan's complaint accuses the St. Louis County Library of violating campaign laws by spending public money and using its staff to promote a tax increase referendum .

A University City resident has filed a complaint with the Missouri Ethics Commission alleging the St. Louis County Library has violated campaign regulations in its bid to drum up support for Proposition L.

Prop L is on the Nov. 6 ballot. It asks users to approve a 6 cent increase in the district's tax levy, bringing it to 22.3 cents per $100 assessed valuation. Prop L also asks that the district be allowed to raise its property tax ceiling to 26 cents from 20.

The University City Public Library is a part of Municipal Library Consortium of St. Louis County and not the St. Louis County system. Therefore, the tax does not impact University City residents.

MLC members include U City, Brentwood Public Library, Ferguson Municipal Public Library, Kirkwood Public Library, Maplewood Public Library, Richmond Heights Memorial Library, Rock Hill Public Library, Valley Park Public Library and Webster Groves Public Library. 

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Tom Sullivan's complaint alleges that the library spent $175,000 for radio ads and brochures that are designed to drum up support for Proposition L.

Quoting from the Post story:

Sullivan also found that the library's website linked users to a campaign site that promotes the tax increase, a practice that the ethics commission has previously declared as a violation of campaign laws.

And emails that Sullivan obtained from the library indicate that personnel were, at one point, cooperating with a political consulting firm, Sequel LLC, of Clayton, in the firm's request for a list of its patrons, including juveniles, to be used for campaign mailings.

St. Louis County Library Director Charles Pace told the Post that the ads and brochures don't violate any campaign laws because they are strictly informational.

To read the Post's full story, click here.

Sullivan has a history of activism in University City and St. Louis County. He was one of five residents who filed a lawsuit against the city of University City in 2011, claiming the city violated Missouri's Sunshine Law in its hiring of City Manager Lehman Walker.

See more coverage on Patch:

  • Residents Dismiss Lawsuit Against University City
  • U City Resident Responds to Criticism from St. Louis County Council
  • County Councilmembers Hit Back at Criticism by U City Resident
  • Ethics Complaint Dismissed Against Councilmember Kraft

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