Ward Organizations Should Make No Endorsement For Recorder of Deeds

Thursday, October 30, 2014, the Comptroller’s Audit Team met with St. Louis City Recorder of Deeds Jennifer Florida and provided a draft of their report regarding the spending of public monies by former Recorder Sharon Quigley Carpenter. The report will not be formally issued, and the Recorder able to formally make a response, until after Tuesday’s Election.

Florida requested the audit sometime before August 15. Comptroller Darlene Green supports the election of Carpenter. But I know for a fact that the auditor has been camped out in the Recorder’s Office most of this time and was still collecting information until very recently. The damning audit’s release after the election is not intrigue. I love a good political conspiracy but this isn’t one.

I had nothing to do with the audit and have not seen the draft. But all of us know, or should know by now, what it says: Sharon Quigley Carpenter Misspent Public Funds, Hundreds of Dollars of Public Funds.

Ed McFowland is not a liar. Jennifer Florida is not a liar. I am not a liar. Everyone who has spoken to, and will speak to, government auditors, government investigators, and government attorneys, about the misdeeds of Carpenter, is not a liar. There are legal implications to what we have said and what we will say. Our testimony is the same under oath or without taking an oath.

Tuesday’s Recorder Election does not make the fiduciary negligence and legal issues relating to Carpenter’s tenure as Recorder go away. Regardless of the winner, this will get worse. The process has just started.

Democratic Party Committeemen and Committeewoman still have an opportunity to be on the right side of history regarding Carpenter.

I am not suggesting that ward sample ballots carry an endorsement for a candidate other than the Democrat nominee. While 24th Ward Democratic Committeewoman Terri Powers has supported Independent candidate, now Independent Alderman, Scott Ogilvie, including raising money for him, as party officials, we should not support anyone other than Democratic Party nominees.

I am suggesting that No Endorsement is an appropriate action.  Already printed and picked up sample ballots containing Carpenter’s name can have lines drawn through it with markers before Election Day. There’s plenty of time.

Not supporting a Democrat is different from supporting an Independent, Republican, or other party’s candidate. As a party, we have to permit ourselves the opportunity to distance ourselves from a nominee, as did the Missouri GOP with Al Hanson in 2002, and the Illinois Democratic Party in 1986 because of Lyndon LaRouche Cult primary wins.

My own ward organization had a choice between endorsing Carpenter and No Endorsement. There was also argument in favor of endorsing Jennifer Florida, which I spoke against, and we had the discussion about being a party organization instead of generic PAC. In the end, our members voted for No Endorsement. I respectfully urge my Democratic Party colleagues to do the same.

– Marie Ceselski


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