Rachel Lippmann

Reporter

Lippmann returned to her native St. Louis after spending two years covering state government in Lansing, Michigan. She earned her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and followed (though not directly) in Maria Altman's footsteps in Springfield, also earning her graduate degree in public affairs reporting. She's also done reporting stints in Detroit, Michigan and Austin, Texas. Rachel likes to fill her free time with good books, good friends, good food, and good baseball.

Ways to Connect

Updated July 15 at 1 p.m. with comments from Cardinals officials and interim manager Mike Shildt — Mike Matheny, a former Gold Glove catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals who would go on to become the team’s manager in 2011, was fired Saturday night after a loss to the Cincinnati Reds.

Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak said at a press conference Sunday that the decision to remove Matheny was made Friday. Team officials fired Matheny the following evening. The Cardinals also fired hitting coaches John Mabry and Bill Mueller.

Supporters of a measure that would reverse a planned reduction in the number of aldermanic wards in St. Louis will use the Board of Aldermen’s summer break to get more support lined up for their bill.

Aldermen adjourned Friday until Sept. 7 without giving final approval to two charter changes. One would eliminate the residency requirement for most city employees — the other would put the 2012 ward reduction back in front of voters.

Updated at 2:25 p.m. July 3 with comments from the ACLU — A federal appeals court in St. Louis has ruled that the way the Ferguson-Florissant School District elects its board members violates the rights of black voters in the district.

A three-judge panel on Tuesday determined that Ferguson-Florissant’s at-large election means black voters have “less opportunity to elect their preferred candidate than other members of the electorate,” even though three-fourths of the district's students are black. The decision upholds a 2016 lower court ruling.

A St. Louis judge on Friday named a local attorney to oversee the investigation into a former FBI agent who worked with prosecutors on the Eric Greitens case.

Judge Michael Mullen agreed with the city that Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner had a conflict of interest when it came to the agent, William Tisaby, and appointed a special prosecutor. The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is investigating allegations that Tisaby lied under oath, and Gardner is a potential witness.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen Friday gave its approval to a $1.1-billion spending plan that includes more money for vacant-building demolition and help for the homeless.

The 22-2 vote, with one alderman abstaining, marked the end of what had been a difficult budget process. Aldermen had to find ways to close a $14-million gap, despite several new sources of revenue, and the city’s budget committee often had trouble holding meetings because not enough members showed up.

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, Rachel Lippmann and Jo Mannies talked with St. Louis Alderman Shane Cohn, D-25th Ward.

Cohn, who grew up in Clayton, represents the Dutchtown, Mount Pleasant and Carondelet neighborhoods in south St. Louis. He was first elected to the Board of Aldermen in 2009 and is in his third term in office.

The city of Ferguson says it plans to keep prosecuting about 1,500 municipal court cases that attorneys filed before 2014 — a decision that bothers advocates who point out they were the product of a policing system the federal government found unconstitutional.

Preliminary data from the community health agency NCADA show the number of opioid-related deaths in the St. Louis area rose again last year, as they have since 2007.

Nearly 760 people died due to opioids in 2017, a 5 percent increase from 2016. That was a relative improvement from the dramatic spike between 2015 and 2016, when deaths jumped from 517 to 712, or a 38 percent increase. The total includes deaths from things like driving under the influence of opioids as well as overdose deaths.

St. Louis’ budget committee on Wednesday approved the city’s $1.1 billion spending plan that is set to take effect July 1.

Members voted unanimously to send the budget to the full Board of Aldermen, a much different outcome than one last week when the committee deadlocked 3-3. The panel had to approve the budget this week in order for the full board to meet the deadline.

Updated June 19 at 2:50 p.m. with comments from Attorney General Josh Hawley and additional background — The Missouri Democratic Party is challenging Gov. Mike Parson’s appointment of Mike Kehoe as lieutenant governor.

In a lawsuit filed Monday night on behalf of a World War II veteran, attorneys for the party say Parson had no authority to name Kehoe, a former Republican state senator from Jefferson City, to the office. The lieutenant governor is, by law, an advocate for seniors and by tradition an advocate for veterans.

Original story from 06/13/18; updated with audio from St. Louis on the Air segment on 06/15/18.

Updated at 6:30 p.m. June 13 with comments from NorthSide Regeneration — The state of Missouri has sued developer Paul McKee, accusing him of misusing tax credits for his 1,500-acre NorthSide Regeneration initiative.

After nearly 10 years, the city of St. Louis wants to cut ties with developer Paul McKee and his NorthSide Regeneration initiative.

City counselor Julian Bush sent McKee a letter Tuesday saying that unless the developer pays his taxes and begins work within 30 days, the city will “take any and all action available to it under the Redevelopment Agreement,” which includes not paying McKee for any work he has done in north St. Louis.

Updated at 5:15 p.m. June 8 with comments from Jean Peters Baker — A special prosecutor has decided not to charge former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens in connection with an affair he had before he became governor.

Updated at 10:45 a.m. June 7 with comments from Greitens' attorney — Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens admitted as part of a deal with St. Louis prosecutors that they had enough evidence to take him to trial over the use of a charity’s donor list for his campaign.

Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s office on Wednesday released the full agreement that led to Greitens stepping down last week. Two paragraphs of that deal had originally been redacted. St. Louis Public Radio and other news outlets had filed requests under Missouri’s open records law to see the complete document. Attorney General Josh Hawley’s office ruled on Tuesday that it was an open record.

Updated 8:50 p.m. Wednesday with a copy of the lawsuit — A former St. Louis police officer acquitted of murder last year for an on-duty shooting has sued the prosecutor and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department for even bringing the case in the first place.

Jason Stockley, who is white, shot and killed Anthony Lamar Smith, a 24-year-old black man, after a car chase in 2011. He was charged with murder in 2016, after then-circuit attorney Jennifer Joyce said she had new evidence.

Two-officer cars, special training, and a focus on community policing are the hallmarks of the St. Louis County Police Department’s Special Response Unit.

The unit began operating last week. St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, County Executive Steve Stenger and members of the unit officially unveiled it Tuesday, at its new headquarters in north St. Louis County.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner told the city’s budget committee Thursday that her decision to charge Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens with two felonies did not take away from her office’s ability to fight violent crime.

Gardner was the final city department head to speak to the Ways and Means committee, which will start making changes to the next year's $1.1 billion budget  on Monday. It must get final approval by June 30.

Gov. Eric Greitens’ resignation was part of an agreement reached with prosecutors to dismiss charges that the governor misused a charity donor list during his campaign.

Judge Rex Burlison on Wednesday accepted the deal reached between St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner and attorneys for Greitens. The state will not be able to refile the computer tampering charge, but the agreement has no bearing on the decision of a special prosecutor, Jean Peters Baker, whether to refile invasion of privacy charges. The governor could also face other state or federal charges.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen Friday delayed a final vote on changes to the city’s residency requirement for workers and the number of aldermen.

Supporters of reversing a 2012 public vote that cut the number of wards from 28 to 14, and of eliminating the residency requirement for most city employees, did not have the votes to send the measures to Mayor Lyda Krewson. She had already pledged to veto the ward reduction reversal.

The Missouri House committee investigating Gov. Eric Greitens has sued two political groups connected to the governor demanding they turn over documents.

“The Chair of The Committee, as a member of the House of Representatives, ‘has an absolute right to have a subpoena issue(d) to obtain evidence concerning an offense over which the House of Representatives has jurisdiction,” attorneys for the committee wrote in the suit, filed Thursday in Cole County Circuit Court in Jefferson City. “The impeachment of an executive officer of Missouri, including a governor, is an offense over which the House of Representatives has jurisdiction.”

Opening arguments in Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens' felony invasion of privacy trial have been pushed back until at least Wednesday, as jury selection is taking longer than expected.

Attorneys will spend a third day Monday questioning potential jurors about how much they have heard about the case, and whether they've formed any early opinions.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison has rejected a media request to record audio during the felony trial of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.

Burlison ruled Wednesday that still photography would be allowed for the first 10 minutes of the first day of trial, which is scheduled for Monday. He had previously rejected video recording of the trial, although it will be broadcast into an overflow courtroom for media and the public.

Editor's note: This is the third in a series of three stories profiling the main legal figures involved in the trial of Gov. Eric Greitens. A profile of the prosecution ran Tuesday, and a profile of the defense attorneys ran Wednesday.

Nearly 200 St. Louis residents will walk into the Civil Courts building in downtown St. Louis Thursday morning in response to a jury summons for the felony invasion of privacy trial of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.

They'll eventually file into a seventh floor courtroom, where Circuit Judge Rex Burlison will preside, to learn if they will help determine the governor’s guilt.

Editor's note: This is the second in a series of three stories profiling the main legal figures involved in the trial of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens. A profile of the prosecution ran Tuesday. A profile of the judge will run Thursday.

The felony trial of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, which starts Thursday with jury selection, has the makings of an epic courtroom skirmish.

As one attorney put it, the case is an All-Star Game for the legal community, and a sizable amount of talent is batting for the governor.

Editor's note: This is the first in a series of three stories profiling the main legal figures involved in the trial of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens. A profile of the defense attorneys will run Wednesday and the judge on Thursday.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner made history in February when she charged Gov. Eric Greitens with felony invasion of privacy. It was the first time a Missouri governor had been indicted.

In the indictment made public Feb. 22, Gardner said that in 2015, Greitens took a photo of the woman with whom he was having an affair, while she was semi-nude, and then transmitted it so that it could be viewed on a computer.

Attorneys for Gov. Eric Greitens want a St. Louis circuit judge to throw out almost all the evidence prosecutors have in the felony invasion of privacy case against him.

A computer glitch had kept the documents from being accessed publicly until Wednesday. Reporters were allowed to review them in the courthouse but could not print copies.

The Missouri House committee investigating Gov. Eric Greitens said Monday it continues to believe the testimony of the woman with whom the governor had an affair in 2015.

The Special Investigative Committee on Oversight on Monday released a five-page addition to its earlier report refuting the governor’s claim that a taped interview the woman gave to St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner directly contradicted what she told the committee.

Greitens' legal team called the latest release "more false information that has not been subject to cross-examination."

Updated April 25 at 6 p.m. with statement from the Anti-Defamation League of St. Louis —A Florissant man has been charged with knocking over more than 100 gravestones at a historic Jewish cemetery in February 2017.

Prosecutors filed a single felony count of institutional vandalism against 34-year-old Alzado Harris on Wednesday for the damage at Chesed Shel Emeth cemetery in University City.

The Missouri Supreme Court on Wednesday will consider two cases that could have far-reaching implications for the civil rights protections granted to the state’s LGBTQ community.

The judges will be asked to determine whether the Missouri Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, even though the words are not in the act itself. Lower courts are split on the issue.

The U.S. Supreme Court will not consider the constitutionality of a 241-year prison sentence given to a St. Louis man more than two decades ago.

The high court on Monday announced it would not hear the case of Bobby Bostic. The justices gave no reason for their decision.

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