County executive who committed suicide donated over $80,000 to zoo

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- It turns out the St. Louis County employee who committed suicide after being accused of a scheme that may have ripped off the county health department to the tune of millions of dollars, donated over $80,000 to the St. Louis Zoo.

St. Louis County Health Department employee Edward Mueth committed suicide last month after an investigation started into a phony company he had set up to bill the county health department millions of dollars for computer hardware and software. But while the alleged scheme was going on, he was also giving lots of money to the zoo. But was that money stolen from the county?

Mueth's alleged scheme created dummy corporations, which somehow got contracts to supply computers and computer support to the county health department.  When a preliminary audit revealed overcharges and irregularities, Mueth killed himself near his palatial Webster Groves home. While all that was going on, Mueth pledged $250,000 to the St. Louis Zoo and actually donated over $80,000.  Concerned that the money he donated might have been stolen from county taxpayers, county officials would like the zoo to set that money aside until it's determined whether it needs to be re-paid to the county.

But the zoo says it can't separate out the Mueth money, telling FOX 2 that Mueth gave the zoo $80,500 and that his money was immediately pooled with other donations and that the zoo can't speculate on where Mueth got the money.

All this is still preliminary. But if it is proven that Mueth's gifts to the zoo came from the county treasury, then county officials have made it clear they'll want the money back.

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