Mayor of Cool Valley faces indictment over missing funds | St. Louis Metro News | Saint Louis
Cool Valley City Council plans to hold a hearing to impeach and remove Mayor Jayson Stewart on January 25. $230,000 in COVID relief funds and return a city-owned police cruiser and gas card.
The town of 1,100 near St. Louis Lambert International Airport has hired St. Louis attorney Paul Martin for a $250-an-hour fee to pursue the case against Stewart , a job that includes presenting evidence in support of the charges against the mayor.
Three of the four council members must vote to impeach Stewart before he loses his job as mayor, a part-time job that pays $300 a month. Stewart, who is responsible for his own legal counsel, can appeal the impeachment and impeachment vote to a St. Louis County judge.
Stewart, 32, did not return calls seeking comment. His clashes with the city council were the subject of a Riverside Time cover story.
In the fall of 2021, Stewart gained national attention when he proposed giving each Cool Valley resident $1,000 worth of bitcoin, the cryptocurrency, as a way to build private wealth. At the time, each bitcoin was worth $60,000. Now the value of an individual bitcoin has fallen below $17,000.
Stewart never revealed where the money for the bitcoin distribution program would come from, except to say that the source would be a wealthy benefactor.
The board approved 13 individual charges against Stewart at a Dec. 21 meeting. The charges relate to Stewart’s failure to obey council directives. Stewart would have:
- Failed to take steps to ensure the city prepares an annual budget for fiscal year 2023, files an annual financial report, or schedules an annual audit as required by law
- Refused to return a city-owned 2104 Dodge Charger and a gas card after being repeatedly asked to do so by council.
- Ignored several council requests to order Cool Valley City Clerk Cheryl Wallace to provide financial records to the council to assess the city’s financial condition and its compliance with Missouri law. These requests included bank statements, records of employee hours of work, records showing the city’s account balances for 2022, copies of all checks paid during that time, and specific records related to $230,000 in federal COVID relief funds.
- Refused to order Wallace, who quit his job in November, to comply with these council directives, and further failed to discipline the clerk for her insubordination.
Stewart graduated from the prestigious John Burroughs School in Ladue. He won the mayoralty of Cool Valley in April 2020 in a landslide. His LinkedIn profile says he ran a successful recording studio and then a St. Louis-based company called PL28 that aimed to clean up plastic waste from the ocean. It is still unclear if PL28 had employees or made money.