[Updated and bumped to the top.]
Why would Senator Obama give a political boost to embattled Harvey Mayor Eric Kellog just before the municipal elections?
U.S. Sen. Barack Obama has picked an interesting spot to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Harvey.
The troubled city claimed the minor coup Thursday when the in-demand senator’s office announced he will speak to an expected audience of 2,000 at St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church.
Obama, who is pondering a bid for the presidency, will be joined by Harvey Mayor Eric J. Kellogg, said St. Mark’s pastor, Bishop William Jordan.
The senator will be in Harvey for “reflection, not politics,” his spokesman Julian Green said, adding he did not know if Obama was aware of a series of scandals plaguing Kellogg’s administration.
Kellogg is accused of ordering police to return a gun taken in evidence to a murder suspect and faces allegations of police and financial corruption.
Jordan said Kellogg was slated to introduce Obama, but Green later said the pastor would do the honors.
Here’s a bit of background on Kellog.
Harvey Mayor Eric J. Kellogg ordered one of his detectives to make a gun seized from a convicted felon vanish from evidence, authorities said Friday in the latest scandal to plague Harvey police and the first to finger the mayor in potentially criminal behavior.
In an October meeting with other unnamed Harvey officials, “Public Official A” told Detective Hollis Dorrough to “help with the case and return property” to the defandant’s stepfather, whom he had known for years, prosecutors said at Dorrough’s Friday morning court appearance.
Sources close to the case named Kellogg as “Public Official A” and said Kellogg’s bodyguards are the other “unnamed officials.”
And guess who Kellogg’s attorney is? Why it’s Sam Adam, Jr., the same guy who is representing Ald. Arenda Troutman. Adam had this to say yesterday about Troutman’s case.
“(S)he never took any money to do anything illegal.”
The problem isn’t whether her official actions were legal, the problem is that she allegedly took money to make the calls and write the letters.
Anyway, Harvey is so screwed up that the Daily Southtown has a special page devoted to the town on its website. The page is called “Eye on Harvey,” and it’s an instructive read. Perhaps the Senator’s staff should go check it out.
Here are a few stories from the site.
* Harvey candidate sues mayor, officer
A Harvey mayoral candidate filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against Mayor Eric Kellogg and a police officer Kellogg rehired, claiming they falsely arrested her for political gain.
* Harvey rehires felon
Son of former school board president was convicted of fraud, theft for bilking state out of $10,000 in student aid money
* Harvey wins a Worsty
The Illinois Press Association has identified the worst offenders in the state when it comes to the Illinois Open Meetings Act and the Illinois Freedom of Information Act — and the city of Harvey made the list.
Called the Worsties, each year the IPA recognized the state’s 10 worst violators of the public’s right to know. This year, Harvey came in at No. 3, right behind Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his administration.
“Harvey city officials hit on a unique way to hide its fiscal problems. Don’t do the paperwork,” the IPA said, noting Harvey’s efforts to avoid releasing public records. The stalling tactics and noncompliance with state law prompted the Daily Southtown to sue the city of Harvey.
*** UPDATE *** One of Mayor Eric Kellog’s opponents in the upcoming election has just sent out a press release. Here’s part of it.
Anthony L. McCaskill â€“ Candidate for Mayor of the city of Harvey â€“ is requesting that U.S. Senator Barak Obama use his time in the politically corrupt town of Harvey to confront the many ills of the community. McCaskill is appealing to the U.S Presidential hopeful to speak out against culture of corruption in Harvey as well as announce a measure that would allow more public safety funds for the citizens of Harvey.