St. Louis Alderman John Collins-Muhammad resigns | Politics

ST. LOUIS  — John Collins-Muhammad on Wednesday morning abruptly announced his resignation from the Board of Aldermen.

Collins-Muhammad, who was reelected last April to a second term from the 21st Ward covering the north St. Louis neighborhoods between O’Fallon Park and Fairground Park, didn’t give a reason in his resignation email, which he circulated by social media.

“The weeks ahead will be tough,” he said in the email to Aldermanic President Lewis Reed. “I ask for continued prayers for myself and my family.”

He also apologized to his family and constituents “for my shortcomings and my mistakes.” He did not elaborate.

Collins-Muhammad, 30, said his resignation would take effect Thursday. 

His resignation was sudden. Just Tuesday, a new lawsuit listed him as one of four aldermen challenging a city charter amendment voters approved in April.

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And he seemed to have good ties with the city’s political power structure. Less than a month ago, Collins-Muhammad led a ceremony renaming a portion of Natural Bridge in north St. Louis in honor of longtime former Congressman William Lacy Clay.

An ally to St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed who worked for Reed’s 2019 reelection campaign, Collins-Muhammad was handling a major piece of legislation that would revamp the board’s staffing. Reed and Collins-Muhammad have said the bill is needed before a voter-approved ward reduction measure that will cut the number of wards and aldermen by half next year. The bill, one of the board’s main priorities, would add paid staffers to help aldermen handle twice the number of constituents while hiring extra clerks and other staffers for the full board.

Collins-Muhammad was critical of the ward reduction measure, claiming it would hurt Black representation on the board and sponsoring legislation attempting to reverse it.

The young alderman was also known for running into trouble, too. In 2017, he was arrested in Florissant for driving with a suspended license and spent the night in jail in Jennings on an outstanding warrant from a 2016 case in which he was ticketed for driving with a revoked license and failed to appear in court.

Last year, he posted and later deleted a threat on Twitter in defense of Alderman Joe Vaccaro: “@Aldermanjoe is my friend. If you come for him, Know that I (WE) are coming for you. Touch him, I’m ravaging your whole community/ward.”

He claimed his Twitter account was hacked. The social media company later said there was no sign his account had been tampered with. 

In October, the Missouri Ethics Commission sued him for his failure to pay a $930 campaign finance violation fine.

Collins-Muhammad is the third alderman to quit the board this year ahead of a plan to cut the number of wards and aldermen in half that goes into effect next April.

Heather Navarro resigned as 28th Ward alderman in January to take a job with the Midwest Climate Collaborative at Washington University. Sarah Wood Martin quit as the 11th Ward alderman in April, saying the passage of conflict-of-interest language in Proposition R made it impossible for her to continue to work as a registered lobbyist at the Missouri Capitol.

A special election for Collins-Muhammad’s seat will likely be held Aug. 2. 

Updated at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 11.

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