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Troupe contends Tyus not legal appointee to 1st Ward post

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon Sept. 3, 2009 - The internal Democratic fights are intensifying in the city of St. Louis, where more than half of the party leaders are directly involved in the selection of a nominee to replace former state Sen. Jeff Smith.

St. Louis Alderman Charles Quincy Troupe, D-1st Ward, is questioning the legitimacy of the new 1st Ward committeewoman, former Alderwoman Sharon Tyus, at the moment one of those involved in choosing Smith's successor.

In a letter sent this week to city party chairman Brian Wahby, Troupe asked for "clarification and a definitive determination'' of Tyus' recent appointment by then-1st Ward committeeman (and state representative) T.D. El-Amin -- at the moment among those being considered to replace Smith. 

El-Amin selected Tyus because the committeewoman -- his wife, former state Rep. Yaphett El-Amin -- had moved out of the 1st Ward into the 26th Ward.

Troupe notes that T.D. El-Amin also had moved out of the 1st Ward to reside with his wife in their new residence. Therefore, Troupe contends, El-Amin was not a legitimate resident of the 1st at the time he named Tyus. T.D. El-Amin has since resigned his committeeship.

As a result, Troupe wants Wahby to "investigate the legitimacy of this appointment..."

All of this ties into the Smith episode because the 1st is among 18 city wards where committeepeople will act shortly to select a Democratic nominee to replace Smith, who resigned last week after pleading guilty to a felony in connection with his unsuccessful 2004 bid for Congress.

Each ward's votes to choose a nominee depend on a formula based on voter turnout in the governor's race last year. The 1st is among the wards with the most selection votes.

Troupe noted that he was the 1st District Democratic committeeman for decades years before stepping down to become the ward alderman. He called the El-Amins' actions "a total disregard of the rules, intent and integrity of the law."

It need not be said that Troupe is no friend of Tyus.

Wahby says that he has no comment because he has not received the letter.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.