Strip club paid mayor of Illinois city for years to allow prostitution at the venue, feds say

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.

A criminal complaint against Rommell Kellogg filed in 2019 stated that he is the brother of the “Mayor of the City of Harvey,” a suburb of Chicago. An attorney for Rommell Kellogg confirmed that his client and the former mayor are siblings but declined to comment further.

Eric Kellogg left office in the spring of 2019. He could not be reached for comment Friday.

Eric Kellogg (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune / Getty Images file)
Eric Kellogg (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune / Getty Images file)

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.

In either 2007 or 2008, Eric Kellogg allegedly demanded the payments increase to $6,000, according to the complaint. When the club initially refused to pay the increased amount, a Harvey police officer allegedly ordered the business to shut down, according to the complaint.

The Harvey Police Department did not immediately return a request for comment on Friday.

Rommell Kellogg is accused of working with a co-conspirator, Corey Johnson, in the scheme. Prosecutors said that they conspired to regularly demand and collect payments from the club and threatened “that the city of Harvey would potentially interfere with the club’s operations if the payments were not made,” according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

At one point, Johnson began collecting the money and delivering it to the former mayor, according to the complaint. Johnson, who is the Kelloggs’ cousin, pleaded guilty last month to a theft charge, prosecutors said. Gal Pissetzky, his attorney, released a statement Friday.

“Mr. Johnson pled guilty to a misdemeanor of receiving government funds. The government’s sentencing recommendation is a sentence of not longer than 6 months, we will see probation,” Pissetzky said via email. “We are very pleased with this fair resolution for the case.”

Johnson’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Feb. 14, according to his attorney.

The scheme was uncovered following a law enforcement search at the business in October 2017 on suspicion of prostitution and tax crimes, according to the complaint. The club’s manager began working with law enforcement. The complaint said that authorities instructed the club to stop running prostitution out of its business but continue its dealing with the defendants.

From December 2017 to May 2018, the club allegedly sent payments totaling $37,000, according to the complaint.

Rommell Kellogg faces up to five years in prison for each count. A sentencing date has not been set.

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