Former Illinois Mayor Allegedly Took Payments From Strip Club in Exchange for Ignoring Prostitution Ring

In the city of Harvey, Illinois, a local government corruption scheme has been exposed, bringing to light the interplay of power, money, and law enforcement. The case involves former Mayor Eric Kellogg and his brother, Rommell Kellogg, and a sordid extortion racket involving prostitution at a local strip club. It further illustrates that government malfeasance is closer to people than they often think.

Former Mayor Kellogg is alleged to have taken payments from Arnie’s Idle Hour, a strip club, in exchange for overlooking the prostitution ring operating out of the establishment.

The former mayor of Harvey, Illinois, allegedly turned a blind eye to prostitution operating out of a local strip club in exchange for money, a case that resulted in the ex-official’s brother being convicted this week for his role in what federal prosecutors said was a yearslong scheme.

The former mayor, Eric Kellogg, is not named in federal court documents and has not been charged. His brother, Rommell Kellogg, 71, of Harvey, was found guilty Monday on five counts, including conspiracy to commit theft and intimidation and causing the use of facilities in interstate commerce to promote theft and intimidation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois said in a news release.

According to the United States Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Illinois, Rommell was convicted on Monday of various counts including conspiracy to commit theft and intimidation and other charges.

Each count of conviction is punishable by up to five years in federal prison.  U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman did not immediately set a sentencing date.

Evidence presented at trial revealed that Kellogg and a co-conspirator, COREY JOHNSON, 68, of Dolton, Ill., are cousins whose relatives served in high-ranking positions in Harvey government.  From 2003 to 2018, Kellogg and Johnson conspired to regularly demand and collect payments from a Harvey strip club based on threats that the city of Harvey would potentially interfere with the club’s operations if the payments were not made.  In exchange for the payments, the business was allowed to continue to operate, even though the conspirators and others knew that acts of prostitution were occurring onsite.

While the Justice Department’s case focused on Rommell and others, it has not targeted Eric Kellogg.

Eric Kellogg is not mentioned by name in the complaint — it only refers to him as “Individual A” — but he is accused of participating in the shakedown.

The complaint alleged that in 2003, the former mayor demanded that the strip club pay him $3,000 a month in exchange for the city allowing the club to continue to operate. Over the next five years, the payments were made to him, the complaint said.

According to the federal complaint filed in 2019, shortly after Eric left office, the former mayor initiated this scheme in which he and his brother asked for $3,000 monthly payments from the establishment. This amount doubled, sometime around 2007 and 2008. But when the owners of the club refused the increased payment, the mayor allegedly sent a Harvey police officer to order the business to shut down, which highlights the role law enforcement played in this scheme.

In all, the mayor and his brother collected about $500,000 from the club between 2003 and 2017.

While the city’s government was allegedly turning a blind eye to prostitution at the strip club, it was vigorously pursuing it elsewhere. In fact, it has a notable history of ensnaring people with prostitution through a variety of law enforcement tactics, including reverse sting operations. These tactics typically involve a female officer going undercover and posing as a prostitute to entice people into buying sex. These people are not offered a monthly payment to pursue their vices.

The Harvey case provides yet another reminder that if one wishes to see government corruption, they do not need to look to Washington, D.C. They need only look in their backyards. In this case, the mayor and his cronies were able to leverage their positions to get a monthly payday from an establishment operating a prostitution ring while still arresting other citizens for the same offense.

It’s a shame the authorities were unable to prosecute Eric Kellogg, at least not yet. Unfortunately, local politicians often get away with their corrupt actions without facing consequences. Perhaps if more of us paid attention to what is going on in our own communities, this might not be the case.

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