ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - State Representative Bruce Franks is down playing whistle-blower reports about SLATE, a St. Louis city jobs program where he worked and a program currently under investigation for the accuracy of time sheets and other documents.
Franks says media reports with anonymous employees alleging widespread problems at SLATE don't convince him there's a problem.
"I know that some of those employees are former employees," Franks said, "You're talking about a place that has hundreds of employees. You're talking about a place that got turned around in a matter of months when (Dr. Alice Prince) became the head of SLATE. And you got folks who didn't want change, who didn't get certain positions they wanted – disgruntled employees."
KMOX reported earlier this week that Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Goldsmith, known for his work on government corruption, has been asking questions of a handful of former SLATE workers.
Asked if federal investigators have contacted him, Franks says "none at all, none at all."
As for his time sheets when he worked for SLATE, Franks says media reports of him putting down hours of work when he was at city hall or leading a protest don't tell the whole story.
"Even on the days where they said 'he was at the board of aldermen,' I was at the board of aldermen for three minutes," Franks said, "I was at a press conference for four minutes. But does that take away from the eight, nine, ten hours that I worked throughout the day, but maybe only put six or seven hours on that particular sheet?"
Franks also stresses that he did not work directly for SLATE, and he did not receive his checks from the city. He says his work as a Youth Mentor was funded through a program run by the United Auto Workers.