Six men have been charged as part of an ongoing federal investigation into alleged corruption in south suburban Harvey.
Among those charged are the brother and cousin of Harvey Mayor Eric Kellogg, both of whom allegedly extorted money from a strip club owner.
Two Harvey police officers are also charged in the probe. The officers allegedly falsified a police report to protect acquaintances from facing firearm charges.
Federal agents raided both Harvey City Hall and Police Department on Thursday, leaving both buildings with boxes of records.
Five of the defendants — all but the mayor’s brother — made their initial court appearances Thursday.
The U.S. Attorneys Office noted that the Harvey Police Department is cooperating in the investigation.
Criminal complaints unsealed Thursday in federal court in Chicago allege three separate corruption schemes in the south suburban community.
Rommell Kellogg, 66, and Corey Johnson, 63, both of Harvey, are charged with conspiracy to commit extortion.
From 2012-16, Kellogg, brother of the mayor, and Johnson, the mayor’s cousin, conspired to regularly extort payments from a Harvey strip club owner based on threats that the city would shut down the business if the payments were not made, the complaint states. The charges allege that in exchange for the payments, city officials allowed the business to operate, knowing that acts of prostitution were occurring at the site.
Harvey police officers Derrick Muhammad, 70, of South Holland, and Derrick Moore, 48, of Blue Island, are charged with obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Muhammad and Moore allegedly worked together to falsify a police report to protect two acquaintances from possibly facing firearm charges. The acquaintances — a father and son — were convicted felons who could not legally possess a firearm.
In March 2018, the operator of a Harvey-based towing company notified Muhammad that a handgun was discovered in a Chrysler 300 sedan that had been reported stolen and ordered towed by police in nearby Calumet City, federal officials contend. The sedan was used by the father and had recently been driven by the son. Muhammad and Moore schemed to conceal the firearm’s connection to the pair, with Moore preparing and filing a police report stating that he discovered the weapon in some brush near the towing company “while on patrol,” the charges allege.
Donald Luster, 55, of Dixmoor, and Will Wiley, 56, of Harvey are charged with conspiracy to commit bribery.
Luster worked as a private consultant for Harvey. In 2017, he agreed with Wiley to solicit bribes from an entrepreneur who owned a towing company in a nearby suburb, federal officials allege. In exchange for the bribes, Luster would provide the entrepreneur with a lease to a parcel of land owned by the city of Harvey, federal officials said.
Unbeknownst to Luster and Wiley, the entrepreneur was cooperating with law enforcement officials and had agreed to make recordings of conversations and meetings with the pair, U.S. attorneys contend.
In a recorded 2017 meeting, the entrepreneur paid a bribe of $5,000 to Wiley, the complaint states. Shortly thereafter, a Harvey employee provided the entrepreneur access to the parcel of land, federal agents state.
In 2018, the entrepreneur delivered a $7,000 bribe to Luster, after which the city employee advised that the entrepreneur could continue to access and use the parcel, U.S. attorneys said.
An official lease was never provided to the entrepreneur, the complaint states.
The conspiracy counts are each punishable by up to five years in prison, while the obstruction charges are each punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation said anyone wishing to inform law enforcement of suspected corruption in Harvey should email firstname.lastname@example.org.