Former St. Louis Planning Commissioner Morgan dies on morning of hearing

Steve Korris Nov. 9, 2011, 7:56am


ST. LOUIS – Former St. Louis County planning commission chairman Douglas Morgan, who delayed his criminal fraud trial for months by pleading poor health, died on the morning of a hearing about another delay.

His lawyer, William Goldstein of Clayton, announced his death to U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry on Nov. 9.

Perry said, "Obviously, that ends this case."

Secrets died with him.

The motion Perry would have heard remained under seal when Morgan died.

Goldstein filed it on Oct. 28, eight days after Perry set jury trial to start on Dec. 5.

Prosecutor Hal Goldsmith responded on Nov. 2, under seal.

On Nov. 4, Goldstein filed a request for "10 criminal subpoenas," under seal.

A docket entry shows, "Subpoenas will be at the front counter for pickup."

Grand jurors indicted Morgan in April, alleging he obtained bank loans by representing that he continued to possess an inheritance.

In June, grand jurors added charges that he swindled investors by representing that he held secret interest in a casino proposal that would win a license.

Grand jurors identified him as a long time friend of Tom Lakin, founder of the former Lakin Law Firm in Wood River.

They identified him as a long time friend of Ricki Lee Jones of Wood River, former owner of Triad Industries.

Lakin currently serves time in federal prison on morals charges, and Jones recently served out a sentence for evading income taxes.

Lakin's son, Brad Lakin, and Jones's daughter, Julie McDonald, submitted the casino proposal that Morgan allegedly exploited.

Lakin and McDonald withdrew the application before officials picked a developer.

In July, Perry set trial for Aug. 22.

On Aug. 4, she granted Morgan permission to travel to Cleveland Clinic.

Defense lawyer Joseph Hogan of Clayton moved to delay the trial on Aug. 9, and Perry postponed it to Oct. 3.

Hogan sought another delay on Sept. 23, and Perry postponed it to Oct. 17.

On Sept. 30, she set a "possible change of plea hearing" for Oct. 13.

Morgan did not appear, and Goldsmith moved to revoke his bond.

Perry ordered Hogan to bring him in forthwith.

"No doctor ever stated that defendant cannot appear in court, but defendant continues to claim he must be hospitalized each time he has a court appearance," Perry wrote.

Morgan appeared, five and a half hours late, and Perry vacated the trial date.

Before she could set a new date, Hogan withdrew and Goldstein replaced him.

She approved the switch on Oct. 20, and set trial for Dec. 5.

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