The Mafia and Rex Sinquefield

In his bid to privatize the St. Louis airport, billionaire Rex Sinquefield jumped in bed with a consultant with mob ties, according to the feds.

Jeff Aboussie, a consultant connected to billionaire Rex Sinquefield’s scheme to privatize Lambert International Airport, has Mafia ties dating back to the 1980s, STLReporter has learned.

Aboussie’s Mafia connections are referenced in background information included in a 1988 federal appeals court ruling on a case involving convicted racketeer Sorkis Webbe Jr., a criminal associate of Aboussie’s.

Nov. 25, 1983 St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The  information is contained in an Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling and is based on an FBI wiretap that captured conversations in which Aboussie discussed efforts to track down a rival gang member during a protracted turf war between competing factions of the St. Louis underworld in the early 1980s. The background in the appeals court decision names Aboussie as being associated with a Kansas City, Missouri organized crime family. The appeals court ruling goes on to say that Aboussie provided support to one of side of the gang war by “contacting the Denver and Chicago crime families.”

Aboussie, who now resides in the affluent suburban town of Wildwood, is the former head of the St. Louis Building and Constructions Trades Council. Prior to heading the council, he was affiliated with Operating Engineers Union Local 513. Aboussie resigned from the St. Louis Airport Commission in 2016 to form Regional Strategies, a consulting firm connected to Grow Missouri,  the non-profit corporation formed by Sinquefield to push the billionaire’s plan to privatize the city-owned airport. Aboussie was appointed to the commission by former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger in 2015. Stenger resigned last month and pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges. 

 Webbe — Aboussie’s past partner in crime —  played a pivotal role in the federal sting that ultimately brought down Stenger, introducing the politician to shady businessman John Rallo and also attending a meeting with Stenger and St. Louis Economic Development Partnership CEO Sheila Sweeney. Stenger and Sweeney pleaded guilty earlier this month for their roles in the pay-to-play scheme. Rallo pleaded not guilty to the same charges. Webbe was not charged. 

In 1983, Webbe and Aboussie were implicated by the feds in a conspiracy to harbor a fugitive wanted for participating in a series of gangland car-bombings here. The feds indicted Aboussie for lying to a federal grand jury about the plot. 

Aboussie later pleaded guilty to insurance fraud in a separate federal criminal case and received a six month sentence and five years probation. As a part of the same 1985 plea deal, the feds dropped the perjury charges. The full terms of the plea deal remain unknown.

In the current investigation, the U.S. attorney’s office here subpoenaed the personnel records of Lou Aboussie, Jeff Aboussie’s first cousin. Lou Aboussie was hired by Stenger in 2015 at an annual salary of more than $75,000. At the time of his resignation earlier this year, he was listed as working for the County Parks Department, then-headed by Gary Bess, another Stenger appointee who also quit in the shakeup of County government that took place in the wake of the federal indictments of Stenger and his accomplices. Lou Aboussie was formerly an aide to U.S . Rep. Lacy Clay.

 

 

3 comments

  1. I always thought it was interesting how the local media ignored Aboussie’s mob ties. Aboussie has received tons of positive local media attention over the years, while having his mob connections ignored until now. Even with Sorkis Webbe Jr., being affiliated with Stenger and his criminal enterprise by the Post Dispatch, they’ve stayed totally quiet regarding Aboussie. I wonder why?

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  2. This is a much more informational story than the whitewashed version in the Business Journal. The issue is nonexistent in other local media! Webbe and Aboussie, two major players in the 1980’s car bombing wars in St. Louis re-emerge 30 years later at the center of the prosecution of the St. Louis County Executive and our local media doesn’t think that’s an important story? Where the hell is Tony Messenger?

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  3. So a story in the Business Journal quotes Aboussie as justifying his insurance fraud conviction by “helping his parents pay for his legal fees” for the perjury indictments related to his mob work with Webbe. According to his own words, he was broke back then. Well how on earth does a guy who worked for an hourly wage as a union stiff, then supposedly work his way up to running the Building Trades Union end up with a Million dollar house in Wildwood, a million dollar house at the lake and a $700 thousand dollar boat? He lauds himself and all his material crap on his own Facebook page. If I were a dues paying union member of the Building & Construction Trades, I’d be asking how much freakin money were we paying that guy? If it turns out to not be enough money to fund that lifestyle, I’d be asking the U.S. Attorney where all that dough came from.

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