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Name:    Miller, Victor J.
Profession:  Mayor
Category:  Politics and Government    (Number 33)
Term as Mayor:    1925-1933
Born/Started:     Dec. 06, 1888
Died/Ended:     Jan. 06, 1955
Description:    Victor Miller was the 33rd mayor of St. Louis, serving from 1925 to 1933. Elected at age 36, he was caught up in a scandal surrounding the $8,000,000 installation of a City lighting system provided for in the $87,000,000 bond issue of 1923. Charges of graft and corruption grew out of the construction of this system. The Chicago firm of A. M. Ryckoff was the contractor. During the progress of the work, Comptroller Louie Nolte complained of overcharges by Ryckoff and was successful in getting the bill reduced by $19,000. After the work was completed, engineers employed by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch made a survey that showed the net overcharge had exceeded $150,000. In 1929 Ryckoff and two City officials were indicted and charged with obtaining $157,000 from the City under false pretenses. Ryckoff died at the end of 1930 before the trial. The case against the City officials was dropped. This overcharge was a factor in the failure of the City to get a complete system of lights for the $8,000,000 provided by the 1923 bond issue.

During Mayor MillerĀ“s administration, the Delmar grade crossing dispute with the Wabash Railroad was settled and the present viaduct and Delmar Station were built. Construction of the Civil Courts Building at Twelfth and Market Streets was started in May of 1926. The building was completed in June, 1930, at a cost of $4,520,000. The Fire Department became fully motorized and no horses were used after 1927.

Mayor Miller was born in Joplin, MO on December 6, 1888. He graduated from Joplin High School in 1906, attended the University of Missouri, and graduated from the Washington University Law School in 1911. In 1918 he married Miss Mabel Katherine Cooney of St. Louis.

MissouriĀ“s Governor Hyde appointed him president of the St. Louis Police Board in 1921 and he took active charge of the department for two years. He led raids on underworld places of business. Governor Hyde removed him from the board in 1923 when there was lack of cooperation among board members. Miller was the Republican candidate for governor in 1924. He led in the St. Louis vote, but was beaten in the statewide election by Governor Sam A. Baker.

Mayor Miller was in poor health during his second administration and his close advisors and department heads took over his administrative responsibilities. He was never able to enter public life again. Before his term expired he went with his wife to New York for a rest. Later he went to Kentucky with his brother and to Kansas City, where he made his home with his mother. He died in Kansas City; burial was in Joplin.

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