Federal Charges Allege Corruption Schemes by South Suburban Harvey Officials and Associates
CHICAGO — Six defendants have been charged as part of an ongoing federal investigation into corruption schemes allegedly carried out by city of Harvey officials or their associates. Among the defendants are two cousins with high-ranking relatives in Harvey government who allegedly extorted cash from a strip club owner, and two Harvey police officers who allegedly falsified a police report to protect acquaintances from facing firearm charges. Federal law enforcement today executed court-authorized search warrants at two locations in Harvey.
Several of the defendants were arrested today and are scheduled to make initial court appearances today at 2:00 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez in Chicago.
The charges were announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Jeffrey S. Sallet, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Gabriel L. Grchan, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago; Brad Geary, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General in Chicago; and Thomas J. Dart, Cook County Sheriff. The Harvey Police Department is cooperating in the investigation. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sean J.B. Franzblau, Grayson S. Walker and Brian P. Netols.
Criminal complaints unsealed today in federal court in Chicago allege three separate corruption schemes:
U.S. v. Kellogg, et al, 19 CR 192
ROMMELL KELLOGG, 66, of Harvey, and COREY JOHNSON, 63, of Harvey, are charged with conspiracy to commit extortion. Kellogg and Johnson are cousins with high-ranking relatives in Harvey government, the complaint states. From 2012 to 2016, Kellogg and Johnson 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 onsite.
U.S. v. Muhammad, et al, 19 CR 190
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 are Harvey Police Department officers who 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, the complaint states.
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, the complaint states. 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.
U.S. v. Luster, et al, 19 CR 191
DONALD LUSTER, 55, of Dixmoor, and WILL WILEY, 56, of Harvey, are charged with conspiracy to commit federal program bribery. Luster worked as a private consultant to the city of Harvey. In November 2017, he agreed with Wiley to solicit bribe payments from an entrepreneur who owned a towing company in a nearby suburb, the complaint states. In exchange for the bribes, Luster would provide the entrepreneur with a lease to a parcel of land owned by the city of Harvey, the complaint states.
Unbeknownst to Luster and Wiley, the entrepreneur was cooperating with law enforcement and had agreed to make consensual recordings of conversations and meetings with the pair, the complaint states. In a recorded meeting on Dec. 3, 2017, the entrepreneur paid a cash bribe of $5,000 to Wiley, the complaint states. Shortly thereafter, an employee of the city of Harvey provided the entrepreneur access to the parcel of land. On Jan. 5, 2018, the entrepreneur delivered a $7,000 cash bribe to Luster, after which Luster and the city employee advised that the entrepreneur could continue to access and use the parcel, the complaint states. An official lease was never provided to the entrepreneur, the complaint states.
The public is reminded that charges are not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The conspiracy counts are each punishable by up to five years in prison, while the obstruction charge is punishable by up to 20 years. If convicted, the Court must impose reasonable sentences under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
Anyone wishing to notify law enforcement of suspected corruption in Harvey is encouraged to email the FBI at firstname.lastname@example.org.