Former Harvey mayor accused of bribery from strip club in prostitution operation
The former mayor of Harvey, Illinois, has been accused of allowing a local strip club to covertly provide illegal prostitution services in return for monthly bribes to the city leader and family members.
The former mayor of Harvey, Illinois, has been accused of accepting 15 years’ worth of bribes from a local strip club in exchange for turning a blind eye to an illegal prostitution operation in the Cook County community.
The former mayor, Eric Kellogg, allegedly participated in a family-run extortion scheme to shakedown the owners of the Harvey strip club for monthly bribes starting at $3,000 in 2003, according to a criminal complaint.
Kellogg allegedly demanded the payments increase to $6,000 a month between 2007 and 2008. His co-conspirators reportedly threatened “that the city of Harvey would potentially interfere with the club’s operations if the payments were not made.”
The former mayor’s brother, Rommell Kellogg, and cousin, Corey Johnson, were also charged with conspiring in the yearslong scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. The two men regularly demanded and collected payments from the club allegedly on Eric Kellogg’s behalf.
Rommell Kellogg was found guilty on five counts including conspiracy to commit theft and intimidation in connected with the scheme. He faces five years in prison for each count. Johnson also pled guilty last month to a theft charge in connection with the case.
While Eric Kellogg was accused of participating in the extortion scheme in the criminal complaint lodged against Rommell Kellogg in 2019, he was not charged with wrongdoing or mentioned by name. He was instead referred to as “individual A.”
The scheme was uncovered with the cooperation of the club owners, who began working with law enforcement after a search of the business in October 2017. The owners were ordered to stop running prostitution out of the business but continue to complete payments demanded by the mayor’s relatives.
The strip club allegedly paid $37,000 to the mayor and his relatives between December 2017 and May 2018, according to the criminal complaint.
Whether in treasure or trust, corruption costs Illinois. Vigorous federal prosecution can help curb it, but not much will change until state leaders get serious about ethics reforms.