Sharon Carpenter: Feathering Her Own Nest

Sharon Quigley Carpenter resigned as St. Louis City Recorder of Deeds because she hired her great-nephew three times in violation of the Missouri Constitution’s anti-nepotism provision. Hiring family, however, was not the only way she used her office to further herself and her family. Carpenter spent the Recorder’s Preservation and Technology Account, public money, and the Carpenter for Recorder account, her campaign money, as if they were her personal funds, both in violation of state law.

oct2001Sharon Carpenter Took Vacations With Her City Issued Vehicle. Example: In 2001, the June 16-20 trip to Billings, Montana, for the IACREOT Conference, paid for with public funds, was extended another four days for sightseeing in Wyoming and South Dakota, with Carpenter for Recorder picking up some of the vacation tab, including maps. 

Sharon Carpenter Used Public Funds To Restore Her St. Louis Statue . There was a statue of St. Louis, the City’s namesake, donated to the Recorder’s office or to Carpenter, not sure which, housed in the Recorder’s private office. Louie was about three feet tall. He was ceramic religious statuary similar to the kind you might see in Catholic church or institution. Louie is no longer in the office. I am assuming he went home with Carpenter when she resigned. Thing is, Carpenter had the St. Louis statue professionally restored with public monies. The project was paid for by the Recorder’s Preservation Account.

Sharon Carpenter Used Public Funds To Buy Her Family’s Genealogy Books. The Recorder’s Preservation Account was also used to buy several hardbound copies of “Donegal Ireland McDermott’s: Mary, Sarah, Jane, Patrick, James; Pioneer Settlers, Franklin County, Missouri” by Elizabeth J. McDermott. There is a copy at the Recorder’s Office, located in the Archives Department. The rest are gone.

ramconfSharon Carpenter Booked A Conference At Her Daughter’s Hotel: The 2001 Recorders Association of Missouri Conference was held in St. Louis City at the Chase Park Plaza because Carpenter’s daughter worked there. A tab of $2,134 for hotel room and food was paid for with the Recorder’s Preservation and Technology Account.

Sharon Carpenter Used Campaign Funds To Buy Flowers From Family. Carpenter for Recorder paid most of her florist bills- funeral flowers, birthday gifts, Christmas Poinsettia, event decorations for the campaign. They went to political colleagues, personal friends, and family. During the bulk of her Recorder career, those flowers came from Quigley’s Florist on Arsenal, the family business started by her mother in 1965. Missouri Ethics Commission online campaign finance records begin with the January 1999 reports. From December 1998 to June 1999, Carpenter for Recorder spent $632.oo at Quigley’s Florist.

The business was dissolved in November 1999 by Carpenter’s sister.  The sister then went to work at Always in Bloom. From October 1999 to May 2014, Carpenter for Recorder spent at least $5,876.22 at Always in Bloom. Carpenter’s sister did not work there the entire period but I am not certain when she stopped.

Carpenter for Recorder quit purchasing Christmas Poinsettia from florists when a grandchild started school. The Committee spent a total of $985.50 in years 2008, 2009, and 2013 for poinsettia purchased from a grandchild’s school in Affton.

Sharon Carpenter Used Campaign Funds For Her Family’s Participation in St. Patrick’s Day Parade. When her extended family participates in the Ancient Order of Hibernian’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dogtown, they do it as a “clan” not as a politician running for office. Parade Rule: “Absolutely no political/commercial advertising of any kind will be allowed.” Between 2006 and 2012, Carpenter for Recorder spent $1778.87 on St. Patrick’s Day clan shirts, throw beads, and even the parade fee one year, for her family’s annual participation in the area’s biggest Irish heritage celebration.

03/16/2006 $285.87 for “purchase St. Patrick’s Day shirts” from Empire Design and $84.73 for “St. Patrick’s Day supplies”
03/13/2007 $169.45 for “St. Patrick’s Day Parade” beads from American Carnival Mart
o3/14/2008 $211.02 for “St. Patrick’s Day Decorations” from American Carnival Mart
03/06/2009 $211.02 for “parade beads” from American Carnival Mart
03/12/2009 $170.00 for “Parade Registration” to St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee
03/09/2010 $211.51 for beads from American Carnival Mart
03/16/2012 $520 for “campaign shirts” from Empire Design, obviously mislabeled

Sharon Carpenter Used Campaign Funds For Cardinals Tickets. 10/01/2005 $1432.00 Cardinals Tickets. 07/02/2009 $470 for All Star Game Tickets.

Sharon Carpenter Used Recorder Staff And Equipment To Plan Her Children’s Weddings And Other Events: List Making. Addressing Invitations. Catering Inquiries. Designing programs. Weddings. Birthday Parties. Carpenter’s “Stew & Brew” for neighbors. You name it, Recorder employees did it.

– Marie Ceselski

 

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