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Ex-Harvey mayor’s brother, a ‘deeply corrupt police officer,’ gets 9 months in Uzi coverup

Derrick Muhammad, a former police supervisor in the south suburb, orchestrated the coverup of the submachine gun found in the towed vehicle of a felon.

Derrick Muhammad (left) and Derrick Moore leaving the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in 2019.
Derrick Muhammad (left) and Derrick Moore leaving the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in 2019.
Sun-Times file

The brother of former Harvey Mayor Eric Kellogg was sentenced Friday to nine months in federal prison, one of three Kellogg family members targeted in a corruption investigation of the scandal-plagued south suburban government that Kellogg ran for 16 years.

Derrick Muhammad, a former Harvey police supervisor, pleaded guilty in a federal courtroom in Chicago to obstruction of justice, admitting he covered up a felon’s possession of a stolen Uzi submachine gun.

“I am ashamed and embarrassed,” Muhammad, 72, told U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman.

Before sentencing Muhammad, the judge noted his military service and charitable work.

“I do this in sadness,” Gettleman said as he ordered Muhammad jailed and fined him $2,500.

Muhammad doesn’t have to report to prison until March because of the risk of contracting the coronavirus behind bars, the judge said.

According to federal prosecutors, the owner of a towing company found the gun in a car on his lot in 2018 and notified Muhammad. Muhammad knew the car owner — a felon — and orchestrated a coverup to keep the owner out of trouble, recruiting Harvey police Detective Derrick Moore to falsify a report and say he found the gun in the bushes behind the lot.

Muhammad was secretly recorded telling Moore to make sure the gun didn’t “come back on nobody.”

Former Harvey Mayor Eric Kellogg in 2003.
Former Harvey Mayor Eric Kellogg in 2003.
Sun-Times file

Muhammad’s lawyer Michael Gillespie acknowledged his client refused to help federal investigators because he didn’t want to “cooperate against a family member.” Gillespie didn’t identify the relative.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Franzblau said, “Muhammad is a deeply corrupt police officer who was working with his family members for years in collecting bribes and extorting people around the city of Harvey.”

Franzblau recommended an 18-month sentence for Muhammad, asking the judge to “deliver a message” because police misconduct causes the public to lose trust in government.

“We are seeing that in all kinds of ways in our country right now,” Franzblau said.

Moore was sentenced Friday to probation for his role in the coverup. He told the judge he was “deeply, deeply sorry.”

Moore had said in a memo filed with the court ahead of his sentencing, “I kick myself again and again hard for giving away my career.”

His memo also said his false police report was “merely a courtesy extended to the ex-mayor of Dixmoor.”

The memo didn’t name that former mayor. But former Dixmoor Mayor Donald Luster, a convicted felon, is a defendant in another ongoing corruption case involving Harvey.

Former Dixmoor Mayor Donald Luster in 2001.
Former Dixmoor Mayor Donald Luster in 2001.
AP

Luster is awaiting trial, charged in connection with his role as a private consultant for Harvey. He’s accused of extorting $12,000 in bribes from the owner of an out-of-town towing company in late 2017 and early 2018 in exchange for the company being able to lease a lot in Harvey. The company’s owner secretly wore a wire for the FBI.

In a separate case, Kellogg’s brother Rommell Kellogg and cousin Corey Johnson are charged with extorting money from the owner of a Harvey strip club, Arnie’s Idle Hour.

The criminal complaint in that case refers to Eric Kellogg as “Individual A,” who is identified as “Mayor of the City of Harvey.”

Kellogg hasn’t been charged with any crime, but the complaint says he demanded bribes of $3,000 a month to allow prostitution at the club starting in 2003. According to the complaint, he doubled the payoffs a few years later, and they continued until 2018.

A club manager wore a wire, secretly recording conversations with Rommell Kellogg and Johnson, prosecutors said.

Eric Kellogg retired last year because of a term limit supported by his critics.

The cases against Rommell Kellogg, Johnson and Luster are pending.

Will Wiley, a co-defendant of Luster and a Harvey towing company owner, has pleaded guilty to being Luster’s bagman in the tow-lot consulting case and is awaiting sentencing.