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Judges order state to hand over $1.4M in withheld tax revenue to Harvey

Harvey Mayor Eric Kellogg | Sun-Times file photo

The Illinois Appellate Court on Monday lifted a temporary restraining order that had kept south suburban Harvey from receiving $1.4 million in tax revenue as it fights its police pension board over millions in back payments.

A Cook County Circuit Court judge had blocked the cash-strapped city from collecting the money last week, a move that forced officials to lay off dozens of police officers and firefighters.

Harvey will now have access to the funds — which were collected by the state, mostly through sales taxes — as the pension board’s lawsuit continues. The suburb is saddled with $5 million to $7 million in pension debt.

Former Chicago Ald. Bob Fioretti, who is representing the city, said Harvey is the first municipality to see revenues withheld by state Comptroller Susana Mendoza.

Spokesman Abdon Pallasch said that Mendoza was only following the circuit court judge’s order, and that their office will comply with the appellate justices’ ruling.

Representatives for the Harvey police pension board could not immediately be reached for comment.

State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) issued a call earlier in the day for the south suburb and other struggling municipalities to file for bankruptcy — an idea that Harvey Mayor Eric Kellogg rejected, saying he “will not entertain any conversation concerning the filing of bankruptcy.”

According to public records, Harvey’s pension troubles are likely to get worse. The Harvey firefighters pension fund has made a separate claim with Mendoza’s office, seeking up to $8 million in back pension payments.