You know… I’m gonna miss ol’ “Swamp Dog” when he’s gone…
Facing a long prison stretch, a former prominent Democratic political player, secretly tape-recorded phone conversations with the father of football star Dana Howard as part of a federal vote fraud probe.
So far the probe has led to one indictment (this was as of 11/17/03 since then there have been other indictments).
In early February 2004, Marvis “Swamp Dog” Bownes — a former member of the city’s Board of Fire and Police Commissioners and a longtime friend of ex-Mayor Gordon Bush — on three occasions telephoned Jeffrey Howard, 70.
At the time, Bownes, 51, was facing many years in prison on federal fraud and money-laundering charges connected to a real estate scam he was running.
As a former Democratic committeeman from Precinct 42, Bownes was familiar with the dealmaking that drives City Hall and East St. Louis School District 189.
When Bownes called up, he brought up the fact that Howard had chauffeured some elderly voters to a polling place, Howard said…
…Nonetheless, the U.S. attorney’s office has refused to issue a letter to the Howards assuring them they are no longer targets of an investigation, Carey said.
Meanwhile, the couple remains deeply upset over their encounter with the FBI, said LaVerne Howard, whose son Dana achieved stardom as linebacker for the University of Illinois football team, then played briefly for the St. Louis Rams.
It is unclear if federal prosecutors enlisted Bownes’ aid in gathering the evidence that led to the federal grand jury indictment of Leander Brooks, a Precinct 26 election judge in the November 2002 general election. He was charged with vote fraud more than three weeks ago (11/2003).
Brooks illegally registered 20 voters — including three dead people — and forged their signatures on registration cards, according to the indictment.
More on Leander…
Nearly a year ago (in 2002), Vincent Pensoneau of East St. Louis did something truly incredible. So did his relatives, Albert and Alferetta Pensoneau.
On Nov. 5, 2002, the three Pensoneaus cast ballots in the general election out of Precinct 26 in East St. Louis.
Trouble is, all three were dead at the time.
Which helps explain why Leander Brooks, 39, a Precinct 26 election judge, was arraigned Friday (2003) before a federal magistrate judge on four counts of vote fraud.