The evidence reveals, Harvey faces a multitude of lawsuits, unpaid bills, and financial ruin before the end of fiscal year 2015.Harvey's ex-spokeswoman calls suburb 'dangerous'
Alvarado, who previously defended city, quit last month
By Matthew Walberg and Joseph Ryan, Tribune reporters
May 27, 2014
For years Sandra Alvarado was a top aide, spokeswoman and girlfriend to one of the area's most controversial mayors. Then last month she abruptly quit and said Harvey officials ran a "dangerous organization" that routinely ignored illegal acts.
In an about-face for someone who spent a decade defending the suburb in scandal after scandal, Alvarado sent a scathing email to Mayor Eric Kellogg and other top aides in which she implied that she was now speaking with outside investigators.
"Where can individuals that are elected, appointed or hired to service the public, behave lawlessly?... In the City of Harvey, that's where," Alvarado wrote in the email last month, adding that city officials "are aware of illegal and immoral acts and do absolutely nothing about it."
Alvarado quit as federal, state and county authorities have increased scrutiny of a suburb that a Tribune investigation in February found was arguably the most lawless place in the region. Sammie Young, who oversees community service officers in Harvey, recently told the Tribune that some officials had been "running around scared" amid fears Alvarado was talking with the FBI.
State and Cook County officials have started combing through the town's financial records as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigates borrowing tied to a botched hotel deal that cost taxpayers at least $10 million.
Earlier this year, the Tribune documented how state and federal officials for years failed to use their full authority to force reforms in a town that's paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars to insiders as it nears insolvency while employing officers with checkered pasts on a police force swimming in unsolved violent crimes.
The questionable actions by outside agencies included an undercover FBI agent, posing as a strip club manager, who records show stuffed a campaign committee with $140,000 that helped re-elect Kellogg in 2007. The FBI has declined to say why.
Kellogg has declined to specifically address his former spokeswoman's allegations or release any documents related to her resignation, including the email. That's despite the Tribune's requesting the records four weeks ago. Under state law, agencies have two weeks to release records. The Tribune obtained the resignation email elsewhere.
As a member of Kellogg's inner circle, Alvarado has been at the forefront of city dealings since she rose from a Police Department secretary to become the mayor's public relations director and the police chief's top assistant in 2003. Through her attorney, she also acknowledged having a romantic relationship with Kellogg for nine years, through early 2012.
Over the years, Alvarado defended Harvey to the media when questions arose about Kellogg hiring officers with sketchy backgrounds, lawsuits accused the suburb of condoning corruption or brutality, and county officials raided the Police Department to find long-ignored evidence that let killers and rapists roam free.
But April 18, she wrote an email to the mayor and other city officials in which she said, "I must walk away from a dangerous organization.... I have had enough."
The email offers a critique of the administration in which she said she "endured a relentless assault of slander, pressure and adversity and death threats" while doing her job.
She said Denard Eaves — who has carried the title of acting police chief for six years — is "regularly threatened and belittled by leaders of the organization."
She said the mayor has phone conferences to "threaten and insult" employees.
Eaves referred questions to the man who took over Alvarado's duties, Sean Howard.
#21 Jun 8, 2014
#22 Jun 11, 2014
State Rep. Smith guilty, says 'jury just didn't see what God saw'
State Rep. Derrick Smith became the latest in a depressingly long line of Chicago politicians to be convicted of public corruption Tuesday when he was found guilty of bribery and attempted extortion by a federal jury.
But like many before him, Smith went down swinging, telling reporters “We put up a good fight” and insisting that everything he’d done had been “for the public.”
“God knows the truth about it all,” the West Side Democrat said minutes after the guilty verdict was delivered.“The jury just didn’t see what God saw.”
Jurors deliberated for four hours before finding the 50-year-old guilty of shaking down a day care business for a $7,000 bribe in return for his writing a letter of support for a state grant application.
It wasn’t a straightforward decision, according to juror Jason Carter, who said later Tuesday that the jury’s foreman started out in Smith’s corner and that jurors were troubled by the government’s use of a “slippery, disgusting” informant.
“It did get a little heated,” Carter, 29, of Romeoville, said.“The foreman [initially] felt Smith was entrapped ... he had to put his personal feelings aside and focus on the evidence and the judge’s instructions before we could reach a verdict.”
Though Smith’s attorney Vic Henderson vowed to appeal, Smith now faces mandatory expulsion from the Illinois House and up to 30 years behind bars.
Smith showed little emotion as Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman announced the verdict in a packed courtroom, though the hint of a Mona Lisa smile played about his lips.
The verdict had long seemed the inevitable conclusion to the drawn-out case. Prosecutors announced in early 2012 that their mole had taped Smith as he accepted the bribe, and Smith also handed back $2,500 of the bribe that he’d stashed in his bedroom and admitted to the FBI following his arrest that he had “f----- up,” trial testimony showed.
Voters re-elected him in 2012, anyway — even after he’d become the first member in a century to be tossed out of the Illinois House by his fellow legislators.
Finally defeated in a primary earlier this year, despite financial backing from House speaker Mike Madigan’s organization, he was serving out his lame-duck term but will now be booted out of office for a second time and lose his pension when he is sentenced.
His conviction also came with an implied insult about his lack of criminal nous: Henderson had argued during the trial that Smith wasn’t dumb enough to have confessed to the FBI without his lawyer in the room, as the FBI alleged.
“If he really took a bribe, don’t you think he’d be smart enough to keep his mouth shut?” Henderson asked in his closing argument Monday.
Smith had built his defense around attacking the government mole who recorded him discussing the bribe, which he referred to as “cheddar.”
The mole, a campaign worker the FBI paid to set Smith up, spent three months discussing the bribe with a seemingly wary Smith before Smith finally collected the cash in seven stacks of $1,000 in March 2012.
Smith told reporters on Tuesday that he did not know why he was “singled out” by the FBI but would continue to trust in the Lord.
“I believe in God ... and it’s God’s will, and I’m going to follow his lead,” he said.
But First Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Shapiro said the federal government would have been “grossly negligent” if it had not investigated Smith after receiving information that he needed money and was willing to perform legislative action in return for it.
And juror Jason Carter said he wasn’t moved by Henderson’s suggestion that Smith was a powerless rookie legislator who didn’t merit such aggressive investigation. A tape in which Smith said he wanted “no trace” of the cash bribe sealed his fate, Carter said.
“He’s 50 years old — he’s not a kid,” Carter said.“He knows what corruption is.”
Contributing: Dave McKinney
#23 Jun 11, 2014
Madigan wanted the seat to remain a Democratic he provided funding to Smith so IF and WHEN he was sentenced to JAIL an APPOINTMENT could be made to FILL SMITH'S VACANCY!
Add your comments below
|who will getvemty trustee chair midlo?||2 hr||Larry Ryan||6|
|School board meeting 4/20/17||3 hr||CASA||26|
|Douglas Schroeder (Jun '13)||4 hr||dksh||84|
|City 911 center closing 11/2017||6 hr||Systematic||21|
|City Council 5/23/17 Mayor Vargas says " WE are...||12 hr||Zoom Zoom||9|
|Stop the Cook County Tax Increase com||13 hr||Denise||8|
|Man Fatally Shot In South Suburban Harvey (Apr '06)||Oct '16||Dupree||120|
Find what you want!
Search Dixmoor Forum Now
Copyright © 2017 Topix LLC