A Better St. Louis. Powered by Journalism.
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Print
  • Email

Fitch's blog post accuses 'political researchers' of digging up dirt

In Region

10:50 pm on Mon, 08.26.13

Updated at 10:01 am on Tue, 08.27.13

The controversy over a subcontract for St. Louis County’s crime lab took another turn on Monday when St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch accused unnamed “political researchers” of digging up dirt about him and his department.

Tim Fitch
Tim Fitch

In the blog post published Monday night, Fitch said that he had received requests in the last week from a private entity for his travel and expense records. He did not specify who had sought the records, which presumably were requested under the state's Sunshine Law.

Fitch alleged that the requests were reminiscent of an earlier episode that occurred after he called for a countywide vote to ban speed cameras. 

In his post, Fitch said that after he came out for a county-wide vote to ban speeding cameras, “those who felt threatened” by the move “hired a political research company to review my taxes, work expenditures and anything else they could find to discredit me or the police department.” 

“Those who actually hired the research company would never ask for the records themselves,” Fitch wrote. “They hide behind a political research company, so nobody will know who's paying them. That's how this stuff works.”

He went on to say that “if they can't successfully find some scandal about me, they will do their best to find misdeeds of my family and/or the 1,100 employees who belong to the county police family.“

“I wish them all the luck in the world,” he wrote.

Fitch's blog post comes a day before the St. Louis County Council is expected to consider Dooley's two new appointments to the police board. The  chief executive, a Democrat, announced last week that he was appointing Republican Dave Spence and Democrat Freddy Clark to fill two vacancies.

The appointments must be approved by the council.

The new appointments come amid recent articles by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch examining a subcontract for heating and air conditioning construction for St. Louis County’s new crime lab. The paper reported that the county awarded a contract to ICS Construction Service, which then awarded a subcontract to SM Mechanical LLC for $3.7 million worth of heating and air conditioning work.

Gregory Sansone, a former member of the St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners who has since resigned, is an owner of SM Mechanical LLC.

Amid questions whether that contract amounted to a conflict of interest, Fitch publicly called for a FBI investigation into the matter. Since then, he's gotten into some high-profile disagreements with St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley. That includes issuing a terse letter questioning whether St. Louis County chief operating officer Garry Earls had improperly inquired about the FBI investigation, which Dooley strongly denied.

Some – including the St. Louis County Police Association – accused Dooley of trying to rejigger the St. Louis Police County Board of Police Commissioners to oust Fitch. Dooley flatly denied earlier this month that he was attempting such a move.

In his post, Fitch alleged that his predecessor, Chief Jerry Lee, had been the subject of similar scrutiny from his critics (including the county executive) and opted to step down. Fitch implied that the requests for his records may indicate that he now is being targeted.

Fitch said that, so far, “the best they could come up with is the fact that I promoted several officers who were named in a 2008 lawsuit that the county counselor's office settled out of court for $46,000." 

"This was a case where it was alleged that the officers used force and the suspect died," he wrote. "Really?  Do you think if the officers actually caused a death, any plaintiff's lawyer would have settled for $46,000?"  

Fitch then alleged that the researcher who had obtained his records last year, in the midst of the speed camera controversy, “wrote his own story” and sent it anonymously to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The researcher also alleged to the newspaper that there was a “rumor” that Fitch was going to run for county executive, the chief said.

“Good one,” Fitch wrote. “That's the best he could come up with? The political consultant is a former Post-Dispatch reporter and is known for his skill in research. Somebody was paying him good money to find dirt on me.  He paid $250 just for my travel records.  You haven't seen a story about my travel records, so one can assume I didn't go to Hawaii on the county's dime.”

He then wrote he received last week more requests for his travel records and expenses. He added that the “people doing it this time should get with the political researcher from last year and compare notes.” 

“Here's some news for them; we are not perfect, but neither are they,” Fitch said. “We can withstand the [scrutiny]. This is a dirty game, but it's the only way they know how to play it.  They go after those who are disloyal or threaten the status quo.  You can bet that I'll keep you posted as the games continue.”

After the Beacon put in an inquiry on Tuesday morning for Fitch to elaborate on his blog, St. Louis County Police Department spokesman Rick Eckhard said in an e-mail "the chief has informed me that he is not interested in commenting further at this time and that the Blog speaks for itself."

No Comments

Join The Beacon

When you register with the Beacon, you can save your searches as news alerts, rsvp for events, manage your donations and receive news and updates from the Beacon team.

Register Now

Already a Member

Getting around the new site

Take a look at our tutorials to help you get the hang of the new site.

Most Discussed Articles By Beacon Members

Conference of American nuns will mull response to Vatican charges

In Nation

7:55 am on Fri, 08.03.12

Meeting in St. Louis next week, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious will have its first opportunity as an assembled group to consider what to do after the Vatican issued a mandate for change this spring. It calls on the conference to reorganize and more strictly observe church teachings.

The 'free' Zoo

In Commentary

7:51 am on Tue, 05.22.12

When a family of four goes to the St. Louis Zoo, they can be forgiven for not knowing it will cost them $60, $72 if they park. If they can't pay, the alternative is to tell the kids they can't do what kids do at the zoo.

Featured Articles

House sends Boeing incentive bill to Nixon

In Economy

12:55 pm on Fri, 12.06.13

The Missouri House easily passed legislation aimed at attracting production of the 777x, a move that wraps up a legislative special session that saw little suspense and few surprises. The bill now goes to Gov. Jay Nixon, who has strongly supported the legislation.

Gandhi inspired Mandela on South Africa's 'Long Road to Freedom'

In World

10:10 am on Fri, 12.06.13

Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday at the age of 95, was a towering moral figure of the 20th century -- along with Mahatma Gandhi. It was no coincidence that Gandhi and Mandela, whose paths never crossed directly, both embarked on their campaigns against discrimination in South Africa. It was when Mandela won election as South Africa’s first black president that Gandhi's influence became apparent.

Featured Articles

Regina Carter brings jazz and therapy to Children's Hospital

6:36 am on Mon, 12.09.13

One night, the violinist is taking bows before a standing ovation at Jazz at the Bistro. The next afternoon, some of her audience may have trouble standing, but the kids in the playroom at Children's Hospital were no less appreciative. “Jazz is medicine personified," according to a doctor who brings in the jazz musicians.

Encore: Dead before death

In Performing Arts

12:58 am on Fri, 12.06.13

For years , the author was certain he would never come to appreciate The Grateful Dead, let alone be a Deadhead. But little by little, he's come around. He talks about his conversion and relates a real evolution: by a musician who went on to play with the Schwag, a Dead cover band.

Featured Articles

Schlichter honored with St. Louis Award

In Region

4:57 pm on Tue, 12.03.13

The attorney has founded Arch Grants, which brings together nonprofit philanthropy and commercially viable opportunitiesto fund new business startups, and Mentor St. Louis, which finds adult mentors for elementary students in the St. Louis Public School System. He was the driving force behind the state's historic tax credit program.

BioGenerator sets open house to celebrate new digs for entrepreneurs-in-residence

In InnovationSTL

12:29 pm on Tue, 11.12.13

BioSTL's BioGenerator organization is on the move as its entrepreneurs-in-residence find a new home in 4,300 square feet of office and conference space in an old automobile factory. The blossoming program, which helps BioGenerator's portfolio companies to get off the ground, continues to pay dividends within the growing biotech community.

Ambassadors aim to soften rough landing for St. Louis immigrants

In InnovationSTL

6:34 am on Fri, 11.08.13

The St. Louis Mosaic Project is set to hold an orientation for its new ambassadors -- dozens of foreign and native-born volunteers who aim to help make the community a more welcoming place for those from other nations. Participants will be expected to do everything from visiting local restaurants serving international cuisine to having dinner with an immigrant to the area.

Recent Articles

More Articles

Innovation and entrepreneurial activity are on the rise in St. Louis, especially in bioscience, technology and alternative energy. The Beacon's InnovationSTL section focuses on the people who are part of this wave, what they're doing and how this is shaping our future. To many St. Louisans, this wave is not yet visible. InnovationSTL aims to change that. We welcome you to share your knowledge, learn more about this vibrant trend and discuss its impact.

Featured Articles

Regina Carter brings jazz and therapy to Children's Hospital

6:36 am on Mon, 12.09.13

One night, the violinist is taking bows before a standing ovation at Jazz at the Bistro. The next afternoon, some of her audience may have trouble standing, but the kids in the playroom at Children's Hospital were no less appreciative. “Jazz is medicine personified," according to a doctor who brings in the jazz musicians.

Featured Articles

Featured Events:

More About The Beacon Home