Money from Outlet Mall Developer an Issue in Race for Chesterfield Mayor
Councilman Matt Segal is outpacing his opponent councilman Bob Nation in donations that include funds from a company behind one of the outlet malls being built in Chesterfield Valley.
In the race for Chesterfield’s next mayor, councilman Matt Segal is gaining a significant financial lead on his opponent, fellow councilman Bob Nation.
According to campaign finance data filed by the two candidates, Segal has outstripped his opponent by a wide margin with $11,775 in donations, compared to the $2,745 reported by Nation. Segal has also put in $5,000 of his own money, bringing his total to $16,775.
The documents were filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission 40 days prior to the April 2 election; they do not include any fundraising the candidates have done since. That information will be detailed in future reports.
The two men are vying for spot left vacant by Mayor Bruce Geiger's decision to not seek a second term. Segal is a vice president at Berkadia, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, where he focuses on finance and strategic planning and has been a Ward 1 councilman since 2009.
Nation is a retired airline captain and retired lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves and has served as a Ward 4 councilman since 2007.
The fundraising disparity has become an issue in the campaign and prompted criticism from Nation, who said Segal has received a donation from a company that benefitted from the approval of $30 million in public financing for the construction of an outlet mall in Chesterfield.
Nation’s remarks refer to a $500 contribution Segal received from Wolfe Properties, a commercial real estate behind the Chesterfield Blue Valley development, home to the future St. Louis Premium Outlets. Election reports show that Segal also received $2,500 from Brinkmann Construction and $1,000 from another commercial real estate firm, Solomon Gershman.
Together with Segal’s previous work as a financial analyst for THF Realty, Nation charged that its shows his opponent will face a conflict of interest as mayor by virtue of his background in commercial development.
For his part, Segal said Nation’s allegations amounted to nothing more than “scare tactics,” noting that the bulk of his fundraising, around $15,000, has come from individuals and dwarfts the around $5,000 he received from businesses.
Election records also indicate that the majority of Nation’s donations are from individuals as well, many of them retired.
While Segal acknowledged that he has been employed by companies that do development work, he has never had to abstain from any votes in his time as a city councilman.
“Yes, I worked for a real estate developer, but does it make me a developer? No,” Segal said, comparing it to saying someone who works for the Pentagon as an accountant is a soldier.
With around two weeks to go until election day, Segal said that he has raised more money since the initial filling and that the bulk of it, around $15,000, has come from residents, dwarfing the around $5,000 he received from businesses.
In fact, Segal said his professional background is an asset by giving him an understanding of economic development from the financial end. He also emphasized the strategic planning aspect of his resume and his MBA in finance and accounting.
“I am probably the most knowledgeable person on the city council as it relates to quality development,” he said, adding that he was chosen to chair the city’s planning and zoning committee after only one year in office.