Ex-Mo. governor pleads guilty in donation case

Apr 12, 2012, 9:58 PM

Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) – Former Missouri Gov. Roger Wilson pleaded guilty Thursday to misusing money involved in an illegal political donation made years after he left office, and the longtime Democratic stalwart apologized for his misdeed.

Wilson’s guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge came on the same day federal prosecutors announced an indictment against him and St. Louis lawyer Edward Griesedieck III, 53. The indictment alleged that Griesedieck had his law firm donate $5,000 to the Missouri Democratic Party and hid the cost in legal bills submitted to Missouri Employers Mutual in October 2009, when Wilson was interim chief executive.

Wilson, 63, admitted in his plea that he approved payment of the legal bill even though he knew the $5,000 was not for legal work but was to reimburse Griesedieck for the contribution to the Democratic Party.

Sentencing is scheduled for July 9, and Wilson is free on his own recognizance. Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Goldsmith said the sentencing guidelines suggest a sentence ranging up to six months in prison.

“I take public responsibility for the mistake,” Wilson said following a brief hearing in downtown St. Louis, with his wife, Pat, at his side. “I apologize to everyone. I’m going to bear the consequences of my mistake.”

Wilson’s attorney, Robert Haar, said Wilson’s mistake “doesn’t change all the good things he has done for the state of Missouri.”

Wilson was a major player in Missouri politics for decades. He served 20 years in the state Senate, then nearly eight as lieutenant governor before Mel Carnahan died in a plane crash in October 2000. Wilson became governor until fellow Democrat Bob Holden, who was elected in November 2000, took office in January 2001.

The Missouri Legislature created Missouri Employers Mutual in 1994 to help businesses get workers’ compensation coverage at reasonable rates. Wilson became interim chief executive officer in 2009 and permanent CEO in 2010.

Griesedieck, a well-known St. Louis attorney, did not have a listed phone number nor a listed criminal attorney. A. Fuller Glaser Jr., a partner in the Griesedieck’s former law firm, Herzog Crebs, said Griesedieck and the firm agreed to part earlier this week. The firm itself was not accused of wrongdoing.

“Herzog Crebs regrets the unfortunate misjudgment of its former partner Edward Griesedieck, which was contrary to our values,” Glaser said. “We also regret not having sufficient safeguards in place at the time. We have since strengthened those safeguards to prevent future incidents.”

The indictment claimed that former Missouri Employers Mutual board chairman Douglas Morgan asked Griesedieck to make the donation to the Democratic Party without the knowledge of other board members, and requested a second contribution for $3,000. Months later, general counsel for the insurance firm questioned the $3,000 legal bill, and Wilson reimbursed the law firm with his own money, federal prosecutors said.

Wilson was placed on administrative leave by Missouri Employers Mutual in May 2010. He was ousted a month later, without explanation. Neither the company nor Wilson would comment at the time. Jim Owen was named CEO in December.

In a written statement, the insurance firm said it has “completed thorough internal and external, independent investigations that confirmed there have been no other similar incidents.”

The statement also said the firm has procedures and oversight “to safeguard against material damage by any board member, executive or employee.”

Despite its state affiliation, Missouri Employers Mutual conducted business with little public scrutiny until Wilson’s sudden departure and the federal indictments last year of two former board members, Morgan and Karen Pletz, who were accused of fraud and embezzlement, respectively. Neither case was connected to Missouri Employers Mutual, and both died before going to trial.

A state audit released in February was critical of Missouri Employers Mutual, saying it avoids federal income taxes by claiming to be a public corporation yet generally operates as a private entity and shells out big bucks for executive perks.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

Associated Press

Officer suspended for off-duty actions at abortion protest

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island police officer accused of punching a woman at an abortion protest while he was off-duty was suspended from his job with pay Saturday while the Providence Police Department conducts a criminal investigation into his actions. Jennifer Rourke, Rhode Island Political Cooperative Chairwoman and a state Senate candidate, told […]
12 hours ago
People celebrate outside the Supreme Court, Friday, June 24, 2022, in Washington. The Supreme Court...
Associated Press

Abortion foes, supporters map next moves after Roe reversal

CHARLESTON, W. Va. (AP) — Americans were taking stock a day after the Supreme Court overturned a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion, as states began implementing bans and supporters and foes of abortion rights mapped out their next moves. The depth of emotion unleashed by Friday’s decision led to protests and prayer vigils across […]
12 hours ago
President Joe Biden signs into law S. 2938, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act gun safety bill, i...
Associated Press

Biden signs landmark gun measure, says ‘lives will be saved’

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Saturday signed the most sweeping gun violence bill in decades, a bipartisan compromise that seemed unimaginable until a recent series of mass shootings, including the massacre of 19 students and two teachers at a Texas elementary school. “Time is of the essence. Lives will be saved,” he said […]
12 hours ago
An officer rests on a fence outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, June 24, 2022. The Sup...
Associated Press

Justices’ past abortion views, in their own words and votes

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than a month ago, a stunning leak of a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito indicated that the Supreme Court was prepared to take the momentous step of overruling the landmark decision in Roe v. Wade from 1973 and stripping away women’s constitutional protections for abortion. And that’s just what the […]
12 hours ago
FILE - Associate Justice Samuel Alito sits during a group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington,...
Associated Press

What GOP-named justices had said about Roe to Senate panel

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nine justices of the Supreme Court, in a landmark ruling Friday, made clear their views on abortion, with the conservative majority overturning the Roe v. Wade decision from 1973 and stripping away women’s constitutional protections for abortion. The vote was 6-3 to uphold Mississippi’s law banning most abortions after 15 weeks, […]
12 hours ago
Associated Press

With new owners, Florida Project motel dwellers must leave

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) — Residents at a motel along a tourist strip not far from Walt Disney World that was used as the setting for the 2017 film “The Florida Project” were told that they must vacate on short notice because the complex has been sold to another owner. Residents of the Magic Castle Inn […]
12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
...
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
Ex-Mo. governor pleads guilty in donation case