JEFFERSON CITY — An administrative law judge shot down state ethics regulators Monday in a case against a former Wildwood city council member.
The Missouri Ethics Commission had fined Niles Stephens $1,000 in October, saying he had failed to report the use of his company truck as a campaign contribution when he made a successful bid for the Ward 8 seat in 2018.
Stephens had placed campaign signs on the truck, but said his company had nothing to do with his campaign. He appealed the MEC decision.
In a preliminary ruling issued Monday, Renee Slusher of the Administrative Hearing Commission said the Missouri Ethics Commission failed to provide enough proof that Stephens had violated the law.
Slusher wrote that the MEC did not supply any information indicating that the company was aware of the campaign signs or had a policy for or against the use of campaign signs on its vehicles.
Stephens is no longer on the council of the west St. Louis County community after he attempted to run for mayor in 2020 and lost.
When finalized, the ruling could erase the fine he was required to pay to the MEC.