“When Rallo donated with the clear understanding that he would receive county funds in return, that’s where it crossed the line into public corruption,” said Special Agent Andrew Ryder, one of the agents who worked the case out of the FBI’s St. Louis Field Office.
After Stenger was elected, Rallo continued to donate to him, believing he would receive a county insurance contract in return. Rallo also recruited other donors, who in total gave Stenger’s campaign about $50,000.
When staff thwarted Stenger’s initial efforts to steer county insurance contracts to Rallo, Stenger and Rallo focused on getting Rallo a contract for marketing services. Although Rallo had no experience in marketing, Rallo told Stenger he could get a famous television personality he knew to do promotional work. Stenger told his staff Rallo was a donor to his campaign, and he expected Rallo’s company to get the $100,000 contract.
When the county put the marketing job out for bid, it received proposals from companies with actual experience. The St. Louis Port Authority, which controlled the funds, issued the contract to Rallo at the county executive’s direction. Stenger’s staff even tacked an additional $30,000 onto Rallo’s contract—money that was illegally funneled to another of Stenger’s supporters.