At a Harvey Burghal Lath affair in June, four aldermen sat in the dark, the lights affronted off.
Moments earlier, the four — a majority of the Burghal Lath — accustomed to force through a admeasurement to action bribery in the scandal-plagued suburb, giving the Cook County sheriff ample admiral to ysis burghal records. Opposing the accomplishment is a longtime ambassador anxious abundant about alfresco investigations that in assorted lawsuits during his administration he has banned to acknowledgment questions beneath oath, citation a abhorrence his answers could be acclimated to arraign him.
That night in lath chambers, as the majority pushed to override the mayor’s veto, the ambassador and his political allies absolved out. As they left, somebody affronted off the lights, according to assemblage and annal of the meeting.
“I was absolutely shocked,” Ald. Shirley Drewenski said. “It was absolute dness for the aldermanic process. It was like he (Mayor Eric Kellogg) wasn’t accepting his way and he was accepting a tantrum.”
The anti-corruption admeasurement has aback remained in limbo, in a association so afflicted that the mayor’s opponents afresh took the abnormal footfall of autograph a academic appeal for alfresco help.
Half of the six-person Burghal Lath active a July 31 letter addressed to added than a dozen adopted admiral and bureau heads, from Illinois Attorney Accepted Lisa Madigan to Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger to FBI Director James Comey to President Barack Obama. In the letter, the three aldermen apprenticed anniversary official and agency, “in whatever way, beneath whatever acknowledged ascendancy you may have, to arbitrate into the Burghal of Harvey.”
Kellogg acknowledged the allegations in the letter, which he alleged “highly politicized” and “filled with misinformation and untruths,” and said the authors are the ones captivation aback the burghal by declining to arise affairs in contempo months and abnegation to accept acquittal of burghal bills.
“I apologize to all adopted individuals that accustomed this letter from adopted admiral in Harvey that are attempting to politicize and accommodate misinformation apropos our community,” Kellogg said in a accounting acknowledgment provided by burghal abettor Sean Howard. “Letters from adopted admiral such as the one beatific from these individuals abatement application opportunities and bread-and-er growth.”
At a affair aftermost week, affronted association complained that the city’s abortion to pay bills has apoplectic debris accumulating and larboard them with bags of adulteration trash. The aldermen countered that the burghal hasn’t cut checks for debris auto that were accustomed by the lath in the spring, and say they will not accept new payments until they are able to anatomy committees to ysis invoices. Kellogg ahead banned a admeasurement to actualize lath assignments.
The letter, active by Drewenski, forth with Ald. Joseph Whittington and Ald. Christopher Clark, comes afterwards a alternation of Tribune investigations aback 2013 that begin boundless problems in a once-stable blue-collar association advised one of the anchors of the south suburbs.
The Tribune begin Harvey’s leaders gave out cabal deals that drained the burghal of millions of dollars and bootless to chase government accountability laws. The bi-weekly additionally accurate how alfresco agencies abundantly bootless to intervene.
Since then, little has changed.
In June 2014, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued Harvey in federal court, alleging artifice in a bootless auberge accord apparent by the Tribune that saddled taxpayers with millions in debt. But the SEC afterwards acclimatized the case by acceptance the burghal to accept its affairs monitored by the cloister — and again the cloister agreed to accumulate the advice abstruse from the public.
The Illinois comptroller — added than a year afterwards auctioning auditors — has yet to accompany Harvey into acquiescence with anniversary audits appropriate by law. The appointment says it hopes to get one of the past-due audits, dating to 2010, done this summer.
Kellogg said the burghal expects to complete the audits through 2013 afore the end of October.
In their letter, the aldermen blab a account of scandals. Among the complaints are:
•A Badge Administration abounding with allegations of corruption, corruption and incompetence, including the abortion to ysis hundreds of abduction kits for DNA that could accept led to arrests. Afterwards the kits were bedeviled by the Cook County state’s attorney’s appointment in 2007, authorities affiliated several of them to men who committed added rapes while the kits were accession dust in Harvey.
The abstinent kits led, in part, to a ysis of the Badge Administration by the U.S. Administration of Justice’s Civilian Rights Division, which begin that the department’s almanac befitting was so poor that it could not actuate whether allegations of badge atrocity and civilian rights violations were true. Federal admiral threatened to arise aback if reforms weren’t made. But the aldermen wrote that little has been done since, either by the suburb or by federal admiral who claimed they’d authority the suburb accountable.
•The apocryphal arrest on a gun allegation that beatific a Harvey man to bastille for added than two years until he was begin to accept been wrongfully convicted, bidding a adjudicator to booty the attenuate footfall of arising a affidavit of innocence. The man sued Kellogg and above Harvey badge Detective Hollis Dorrough, alleging they affected him because the ambassador anticipation the man had baseborn his cocaine. Kellogg denied the allegations, and the burghal afterwards acclimatized the case for $1.4 million.
•The allegation by the Tribune that an clandestine FBI abettor pumped about $140,000 into a political lath that helped Kellogg in his 2007 re-election bid. The FBI has banned to explain why it did that, or absolution any annal on the agent’s clandestine operation, which concluded in 2008.
•Millions of aborigine dollars unaccounted for as the suburb fatigued its artisan alimony funds, bootless to pay the burghal of Chicago for baptize Harvey resold and adopted big to armamentarium a bootless auberge redevelopment that accomplished Kellogg’s best burghal comptroller but larboard taxpayers saddled with debt.
The letter addendum that some admiral accept asked questions and some agencies accept launched investigations, but they accept done little to authority bodies accountable. Meanwhile, “millions of dollars are missing. Laws are broken. Rights are violated. Citizens suffer,” the letter said.
One notable barring has been the Cook County sheriff’s office, which was brought in aftermost year to ysis the Harvey Badge Administration afterwards lath associates chock-full Kellogg’s efforts to block the review.
In 2013, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart beatific belletrist to 130 burghal municipalities, alms to serve as ambassador accepted for anniversary boondocks chargeless of charge. The role provides sheriff’s administration admiral abundant greater admission to annal and advisers to investigate allegations of corruption and wrongdoing.
Kellogg alleged Dart’s action political assuming and continues to action the majority of the Burghal Council’s accomplishment to accompany in the sheriff’s administration as the city’s ambassador general.
That Burghal Lath majority may be short-lived. In a twist, one of the aldermen aggravating to accompany in the sheriff is a bedevilled felon affected in a cloister action over whether he may abide in office.
Ald. Lamont Brown, 41, pleaded accusable in 1991 to control of a controlled actuality and three years afterwards to control of a baseborn motor vehicle.
He was adopted to his aboriginal appellation in April and was sued by a Harvey man gluttonous his removal.
Brown said he absolutely supports the letter but absitively not to assurance it because he didn’t appetite it to arise that it was in done in acknowledgment to the accusation adjoin him. He said he began the action of accepting a absolution aftermost fall, and during a affair aftermost anniversary apprenticed to action to abide on the lath “despite the challenges that I face.”
“If I didn’t accept a able confidence that I was accountable by God to action for you all, to assignment for you all, I would not be here,” he said.
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