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Vincent poorly represents majority of Ward 2 citizens


Crestwood residents whose properties border the Crestwood Swim Club once again have been poorly represented by Ward 2 Alderman Gary Vincent.

Over the past few years, a minority of Crestwood residents — those who are members of the Crestwood Swim Club or shareholders in the Rosebrook Real Estate Co. — have had their special interests represented quite well by Mr. Vincent.

It's unfortunate that Mr. Vincent repeatedly has placed the interests of these two private entities over the welfare of the vast majority of Crestwood residents in Ward 2 he supposedly was elected to represent. Ward 2 residents, particularly those whose properties border the the new Crestwood Swim Club, certainly haven't received the representation they deserve from Mr. Vincent.

In October 2001, the Board of Aldermen approved a conditional-use permit allowing the Swim Club to construct a new pool in a residential area adjacent to City Hall.

The club's previous location at 1475 S. Sappington Road, owned by the Rosebrook Real Estate Co., was needed to provide additional parking for the Kohl's Department Store that is under construction at the northwest corner of Watson and Sapping-ton roads.

Construction of the new pool was completed this summer and the Swim Club opened the new pool in July without an occupancy permit — for the building and pool construction — from either St. Louis County or the city of Crestwood.

At the Aug. 26 Board of Aldermen meeting, Ward 2 residents whose homes border the Swim Club flooded aldermen with a litany of complaints about the club and asked the board to consider reducing the number of hours the pool can operate.

But Swim Club members, including Mr. Vincent, responded that most complaints about the club and its new location were temporary in nature and would be resolved to the satisfaction of nearby residents.

This isn't the first time Mr. Vincent has inappropriately used his aldermanic seat to defend the Swim Club.

Mr. Vincent, an attorney, is a Crestwood Swim Club member, not to mention a shareholder and volunteer officer with the Rosebrook Real Estate Co., which owns the property on which the Swim Club is situated.

Mr. Vincent's conflict of interest on matters relating to the Crestwood Swim Club and the Rosebrook Real Estate Co. is well documented as he has abstained from voting more than 15 times over the past few years on motions involving the two private entities. Given the obvious conflict of interest, it certainly is appropriate for Mr. Vincent to abstain on such votes.

What's inappropriate, though, is Mr. Vincent's continued participation in aldermanic discussions about matters involving the Crestwood Swim Club and the Rosebrook Real Estate Co. To eliminate any perception of a conflict of interest, we believe Mr. Vincent also should recuse himself from any discussions about the Swim Club or Rosebrook Real Estate.

Instead, Mr. Vincent has continued to use his aldermanic seat as a forum to defend the Swim Club, promoting its interests over the welfare of the majority of Ward 2 residents he was elected to represent. In fact, his continued defense of the Swim Club over residents' complaints has even turned a few of his colleagues' heads.

At the Aug. 26 meeting, Ward 2 Alderman Tim Trueblood said, "I have to ask Alderman Vincent — was he speaking as an alderman just now, explaining the condition of the pool or (as) a representative of the pool?''

Mr. Vincent said, "I'm speaking as Gary Vincent because and I have knowledge of this stuff. That's how I'm speaking.''

Given that, it's obvious that Mr. Vincent has no interest in representing Ward 2 residents who have concerns about the pool.

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