Former TV personality Montel Williams said Friday he was paid less than $10,000 by a local marketing firm that won a controversial $130,000 contract from the St. Louis County Port Authority.
The statement, sent to the Post-Dispatch by Williams’ agent, is the first time the celebrity has responded to inquiries about his involvement in Cardinal Creative Consulting, a firm owned by a big campaign contributor to St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger.
The contract, awarded in May 2016, was pitched as a way to shine a better light on the region in the aftermath of social unrest that began in Ferguson. The firm’s owner, John Rallo, touted his friendship with Williams as a selling point, and the Port Authority’s chief, Sheila Sweeney, has said Williams’ involvement was why Rallo’s firm won the contract.
“First, Mr. Williams is not now, nor has he ever been a partner in Cardinal,” Williams’ agent and adviser Jonathan Franks wrote in the statement. “Mr. Williams was engaged by Cardinal as a contractor. Second, in a Feb. 6 radio interview, Mr. Stenger incorrectly implied that Mr. Williams’ fees accounted for a significant portion of the master contract’s value. Mr. Williams was paid less than $10,000 and bore the cost of multiple trips to the region