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City building inspector indicted on bribery charges

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Updated with comments for U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan and public safety director Eddie Roth.

The federal government is accusing a building inspector of the city of St. Louis for accepting bribes.

Anthony D. Davis was indicted on Wednesday. It was not made public until his arrest this morning.

The U.S. Attorney's office says Davis accepted more than $2,000 in cash payments in connection with his official duties, which include inspecting buildings and issuing permits. The two bribes allegedly occurred in July and August of last year.

Prosecutor Richard Callahan would not say how the Federal Bureau of Investigation and his office became aware of Davis' alleged actions, but said it isn't a trend.

"It's not a pattern of corruption within the inspector's department," he said. "This is an isolated case involving one isolated individual, one bad apple in the barrel."

He said nothing in the investigation showed any threat to public safety from Mr. Davis' alleged actions.

The city's public safety director, Eddie Roth, said Mayor Francis Slay was grateful to the FBI and Callahan for catching Davis. He feels sick, he said, upon learning of any corruption in city government.

"I would point out that these kinds of cases, which are endemic in a lot of big cities, and St. Louis has had a history of this, occur in ever-decreasing frequency," Roth said. "I think that that's in part of how our staffs have become more professional, and better managed, and better supervised, and the willingness of the public to simply not tolerate this sort of conduct."

Roth says Davis will be placed on forced leave pending the outcome of the case. Davis faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 for each bribe if he's convicted.

Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.