Indicted chairman leaves position

Friday, February 9, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:25 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY — A lawmaker indicted along with 16 other people announced Thursday that he is stepping down from his leadership position in the legislative Black Caucus. Rep. John Bowman said the move is not permanent.

“I temporarily stepped to the side so I could focus on some personal matters,” he said, without elaborating.

Bowman was indicted by a federal grand jury in St. Louis two weeks ago for bank and credit fraud. Last week, he said he was innocent but declined to discuss details of the case.

Bowman said at the time he was considering scaling back his legislative and leadership roles. In addition to heading the Black Caucus, Bowman serves on the powerful House Budget Committee. Bowman, D-St. Louis, said fellow St. Louis Democrat Rep. Robin Wright-Jones would be the caucus’ acting chairwoman. Bowman said he would continue to be a member of the caucus.

The federal indictment alleges that former Bank of America Vice President Robert Conner recruited Bowman and the other defendants to apply for small-business credit cards and then received $2,500 to $5,000 kickback payments. An attorney for Conner maintains his client is innocent.

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