Pubdate: Sun, 14 Aug 2005
Source: Belleville News-Democrat (IL)
Copyright: 2005 Belleville News-Democrat
Author: George Pawlaczyk
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


Worker Fired In Vote Fraud Case Asks Why Drug Conviction Is Allowed

EAST ST. LOUIS - City Councilman Karen Cason's nephew was allowed to keep 
his City Hall job after pleading guilty to a felony drug charge last year.

But four other city employees, including one who worked in the same 
department as Cason's nephew, were fired after being indicted in March and 
later convicted on federal vote fraud charges.

The nephew, DiMario Cason, 28, of Converse Street, pleaded guilty to 
possessing marijuana with intent to deliver and received probation, 
according to St. Clair County Court records. He was arrested April 9, 2001.

Councilman Eddie Jackson said Friday that either all city employees with a 
felony record should lose their jobs or all should keep them.

"It is a cause for concern because there should be fairness," commented 
Jackson, who said he will investigate the matter.

"If the others aren't working, then neither should he," he said.

Neither Karen Cason or DiMario Cason could be reached for comment. Mayor 
Carl Officer also could not be reached for comment.

Sheila Thomas was one of five city Democrats convicted in June following a 
month-long vote fraud trial in East St. Louis federal court. Thomas, who 
was fired, worked as a $27,000-per-year secretary in the same office as 
DiMario Cason, a $35,000-per-year housing inspector in the city's 
Department of Regulatory Affairs.

"We got let go because we were charged with a felony, and I was told you 
couldn't have a felony and work in that department," Thomas said.

"DiMario Cason has a felony, yet he's still working. If he's able to work, 
how come we weren't able to work? Especially because we haven't even been 
sentenced yet," she said. "It is basically unfair."

Di Mario Cason was arrested on April 9, 2001, by agents of the Metropolitan 
Enforcement Group of Southwestern Illinois and charged with possessing 
marijuana with intent to deliver. St. Clair County court records show that 
a second charge of illegally fortifying a residence to use it to store 
marijuana was dismissed by Circuit Judge Jan Fiss as part of a May 20, 
2004, plea agreement.

Cason was sentenced by Fiss to serve 18 months probation and pay $1,549 in 
fines and court fees, court records state.

In December, State's Attorney Robert Haida filed a petition to revoke 
Cason's probation for being arrested for disorderly conduct in Alorton and 
for allegedly failing to pay the fines and court costs. Cason admitted to 
failing to pay, and was ordered to pay $100 per month, according to a court 

Court records show Cason pleaded guilty in 2000 to a misdemeanor marijuana 
possession count and was sentenced to four days time served and a $100 fine.
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