ST. LOUIS, Mo. — A lawmaker getting paid to represent Missourians abandoned his city council post without notice and has been living in Illinois.
Now the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has charged 36-year-old Andrew Purcell with stealing by deceit.
If convicted, the felony charge comes with 1-7 years in prison or less than a year in the county jail. He could also pay a fine of up to $10,000. The punishment may also include both imprisonment and a fine. A court of law will ultimately whether he is guilty.
Court documents state that he was appointed to the Bridgeton City Council in April 2018. He represented the 2nd ward, and his home address was listed in Bridgeton, Missouri.
In 2020, Purcell was re-elected to the city council for another two-year term. Police said he rented an apartment in Bridgeton from April 7, 2020, until June 4, 2021. His tenure as a city councilman ended on April 5, 2022, because he did not seek re-election.
Purcell signed a rental agreement for a property in Carterville, Illinois, on Nov. 5, 2021, and registered to vote in the state. Police said he lives at the Illinois address.
”It is my contention, under oath, that I am a resident of Williamson County and have been since March 1 of 2021,” Purcell said during an electoral board meeting in Williamson County, Illinois.
FOX 2 reports Purcell was trying to run for office in Williamson County, Illinois, about 140 miles away. The Republican Party there learned he was getting paid as a Bridgeton councilman, so they brought him into a court hearing to find out where he was really living.
Purcell didn’t notify city council members that he moved to another city or state. He would have been expected to step down from his elected position.
City council members are paid $500 per month. He would have been paid a total of $6,000 while living in Illinois.