Pole dancing & politics: The history of high jinks in Harvey

HARVEY, Ill.   — Two cousins with high-ranking relatives in Harvey's government were among six people charged with engaging in corrupt practices Wednesday, accused of extorting cash from a strip club owner who sought use of land owned by the city.

But high jinks and Harvey go hand-in-hand.

While the charges don’t name the clubs, past investigations by WGN show pole dancing and politics have gone hand-in-hand for years in the south suburb. WGN Investigates has repeatedly reported on the mayor, his family and the shady circumstances surrounding strip clubs.

In 2014, WGN investigated a strip club called Assets that masqueraded as a sports bar there. Several aldermen were outraged, but the club opened after Mayor Eric Kellogg cast a tie-breaking vote. He had previously received an $1,800 contribution from the club’s owner. And again, aldermen were told it would be a family establishment.

The day after the story aired, the mayor ordered the place shut down and revoked its liquor license.

As Wednesday’s federal charges show, other strip clubs continued to flourish in Harvey.

For much of his two decades in public life, Kellogg also held the job of local school superintendent and with it a six figure salary. And then there are his relatives. Two of Kellogg’s brothers were charged Wednesday in in a wide-ranging corruption probe.

The mayor’s niece runs the law department.  His sister is the chief administrator of the suburb. Last fall,  WGN exposed a car crash that damaged the Harvey Fire Department’s facade.

Behind the wheel was the mayor’s nephew Rommel Kellogg. Police reports noted the smell of alcohol and warrants out for his arrest, but he was only charged with a misdemeanor.

“He was never given preferential treatment,” Mayor Kellogg said at the time.

The Rommel Kellogg in the crash last year is the son of the man charged Wednesday with shaking down the strip club owner. As for Mayor Kellogg, term limits are forcing him out of office this spring.

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