There is no “alleged” whenever someone wants to discuss Keith Price’s criminal career.
He is a criminal, the public can see it for themselves and the courts have acknowledged and affirmed this…only Price and his allies still cling to their denials and complete rejection of such a notion.
The first act of criminality was when he chose to accept 3 elected position in 2007, rather than declining on two and then taking the seat of his choice: Alderman for the City of Harvey, District 152 School Board Member or Harvey Park District Commissioner. My lead sentence for this paragraph is a little misleading, as their is a difference between contemplating the commission of a crime and actually following through on it, as I will explain in a bit how that fits in with this whole notion a series of crimes were committed by Price and yet he was never held accountable for being found guilty for this starting point of his crimes.
Price’s planned entry point into the New and Improved “Harvey Rising Long Con Game; Brought to You by Kellogg and Crew” actually can be a politician’s dream situation for some who are interested in a career in politics. There is nothing inherently wrong with a candidate running on multiple ballot, nor is there anything wrong with winning more than one race. In fact, candidates make this type of a choice for a variety of reasons and not all are nefarious and evil, such as when someone wants to intentionally split the vote so their candidate of choice wins (now that’s a power play robbing the public of their voice, right??). It can even play well in future elections by projecting cross-platform popularity.
Therefore, one could argue momentarily that running for multiple positions and then winning all the seats he ran was not the first crime he committed. It is known fact that it is not, by default, illegal to hold two elected seats. Its all about incompatibility factors of the offices.
So to take this a step further, one could argue on its surface that this was a clean sweep for him–after all, someone must be pretty good at governing and working with the public to secure even 2 seats, let alone 3 seats in a city the size of Harvey. That’s the power of popularity, right? Or it certainly picks out our Public Servants from a crowd of candidates vying for the jobs–most of the time.
Now if you will allow me to move you towards the first visible and provable entry point to the first criminal act. First, it wasn’t a crime the first time he ever walked through the doors of the first municipal unit he chose to enter.
In many ways, he had every right to wake up that first day of the new job he picked and feel damn good about himself and his recent election victories. In fact, he would have every right to feel downright great about it. He even had a chance to let second and third thoughts to stop him from following through with his plan of accepting all three seats.
However, if one looks at his career based on election highlights only (not the daily line item offenses), the first real series of crimes started the moment he walked into the second municipal unit he chose to walk into as an elected government official and then demanding all of the authority that comes with the office, and then going to the third and doing the same!
Fairly clear law and precedence should have been more than enough to persuade Price to avoid this next illegal act, and yet he still went ahead and began acting on behalf of all three municipal units.
It’s impossible to track back for sure which job he went to first; City Hall, the Park District or District 152, but one thing is certain; he was now a criminal taking evasive actions to avoid confrontation and possible capture by the law while doing who knows what and when to accomplish such an objective.
That’s one of those quirky personality traits about criminals operating disguised as government officials. Here Price believed he would be able to operate in the theoretical wide-open on a daily basis unencumbered by any call for his removal from office and he ended up being right. The Kellogg Machine has so far been quite victorious battle after battle, not because the documents say it should be that way, rather their propaganda machine is so well-oiled, the volume of their message tends to muffle the true demands of the larger public body.
In other words, plausible deniability or not, those with authority stayed silent enough long enough to allow the next major illegal act to occur and it’s a real doozy.
But as a quick side doozy just to make you even more woozy on our way down the path from #YesterYears to today, Price ran for Alderman in 2007 on the incumbent Mayor’s ticket, Eric Kellogg, who first took office in 2003. That matters because in 2007, the FBI was running an operation in the City of Harvey using an agent by the alias of Carlos Vargas (view my Carlos Vargas Switchboard, which contains a thick list of names, links, etc. regarding the topic and you decide). Part of this operation involved Vargas transferring well over $100,000 to Kellogg’s campaign, thus contributing to Price’s campaign as Alderman and thus Price’s subsequent victory in that particular race and possibly all three.
There are many documents that reflect this to be fundamental fact and the Chicago Tribune did a fairly thorough job stitching the story together using the materials they acquired. However, there seems to have also been Denial By Silence message sent by the FBI regarding the question of whether or not taxpayer dollars were used, let alone the denial about Vargas and the operation not influencing the 2007 election.
Even multiple calls for a review of the FBI’s activities in early 2014 by United States Senators Mark Kirk and Dick Durbin and United States Representative Robin Kelly didn’t produce anything that managed to filter into the mainstream to bring clarity and maybe even–dare someone hope–closure to the matter.
Now back to Price and his criminal career trajectory using his positions of government official as his “official cover.” Between 2007 and 2009, a thick foundation of actions and activities were performed in all four major municipal units governing the community of Harvey, but his next major crime happened the moment he began to plan to run for election in 2009 for a seat on the Library Board.
He already had more than a year of day to day illegal activities under his belt in all 3 municipalities when he began campaigning for the seat on the library, but he most likely didn’t just wake up the day petitions were allowed to be circulated and decide to run either. Intent and motive matters and both must have been present prior to this specific series of actions.
This just keeps getting worse…err…better, right?
So how was his running for office illegal?
Easy. His whole platform, reputation and support was built on his previous criminal activities in City Hall, the school district and the Park District.
This is just the dippiest of trips down #FlashbackLane, especially for an outsider like me, right?
So from 2009 until 2011–a nice and comfy 730’ish day period for him apparently–he was holding down seats in all four major municipal units in Harvey directly and indirectly influencing virtually every aspect of the community except for issues relegated to upper management, like the Township and County.
His justification? Straight from the Alvarez and the People vs. Keith Price case No. 1-10-2009 and decided March 16, 2011: “On September 1, 2010, Price filed his response to the motion for summary judgment. Price argued that the State failed to allege any facts showing any incompatibility of his offices, or to identify any specific recusal, action or inaction on his part demonstrating an incompatibility of offices. Price also argued that there was no division of loyalty on his part because all of his offices served the citizens of Harvey.”
While it remains fact all four of the offices served the citizens of Harvey, he was too busy serving his own personal agenda to pay any attention to the wake of destruction and devastation his own singular actions left behind from his actions.
Let me repeat one part again.
Keith Price of Harvey, Illinois was holding elected positions in all four major municipal units in Harvey directly and indirectly influencing virtually every aspect of the community except for issues relegated to upper management, like the Township, County and State for a 730’ish day period from 2009 until 2011, give or take a handful of days.
For basically two years, Keith Price had access to files he otherwise had no right to access, just on the fundamental that he would have had to FOIA the information as a private citizen if he had been on the outside of the office and the municipal unit.
In fact, in September 2009 Harvey Library meeting minutes, it reflects a request from Price to see all employee time cards “…to get a feel for staff hours.” No Board member is permitted to see the personal and private information of an employee any more freely than the public is and while it is unknown if this request was ever filled, the request itself should have been immediately rebuked and rejected on record. Instead, one is left wondering if Price made this request for personal and private information of employees at all of the municipal units he represented and if any or all requests were fulfilled. It would be likely there would be no proper redacting of information, nor would other protocols have been put in place, either.
So for two years, he had obligations to individual municipal units he could not honor due to clear conflicts of interest and in some cases, who knows what level his acts should be elevated to.
For simple line item demonstration purposes, it was stated in January 2010 Harvey Library meeting minutes that the City of Harvey owed the library $40,000 in corporate replacement taxes and that the Director was looking into it. (There were other actions that can at least raise an eyebrow or two in question).
Now how is that supposed to work again? Library Trustee Price is obligated to the library to pursue all debtors with firmness and sterness. Harvey Alderman Price is obligated to the city to ensure all debts are paid in a timely and responsible manner. How does Price tell the library board that the City is behind in its bills and that they would have to be extra cautious until corrections took effect? How does Price tell the City board that the library is in serious need of the funds and that priority needed to be given in some measure and quarter? How much information should Alderman Price share with Library Trustee Price that may or may not be easily accessible by the public?
Some more points on how the Harvey Public Library was cheated out of Price being a single municipal unit Trustee:
1. Instead of Price helping the library acquire two copies of the municipal code book for the City of Harvey as prescribed by law, he supported the absence and eventual take-down of the municipal code book in an online format via MuniCode, their codification company.
2. Instead of Price helping the library acquire a full and complete archive of meeting minutes and agendas for all municipal units, he supported their absence from even an online status at City Hall and other municipal units.
3. Instead of Price pursuing grants for the library with his free time from other library matters, he was off gallivanting and consuming the perks at City Hall, the Park District and District 152 while building his resume and his Rolodex.
4. Instead of Price pursuing the City of Harvey for its unpaid debts to the library, complete with threat of legal action if not paid by a certain time, he was able to buy the City of Harvey at least a smidge more breathing room with its Creative Accounting Needs, such as all of the times the water fund was stolen from and then used for who knows what, besides the purchases already challenged on public record.
5. Instead of Price helping plan for the unavoidable delays in payments from the city that were scheduled and predicted to occur, he voted for the library expansion in 2014 that is now part and parcel of the existing financial stresses and turmoil the library is facing, including the possibility of it having to close its doors.
These are just micro examples of why those two particular seats are incompatible, but even real estate deals, public works issues and public way legal squabble also pose severe threat of significant reduction of ability to perform the duties of any of the four offices simultaneously.
And since this all is happening in the Chicagoland area, of course there’s still going to be even more insult to the micro and macro injuries bestowed upon the masses by Price’s selfish and delusion-driven greed.
Price went all out to smash and bash former City of Harvey Alderman Lemont Brown in public and even at a Board meeting or two for a felony conviction in his youth that should have barred him from office to begin with and then a 2017 court decision that called for him to peacefully surrender his authority to hold the seat which he did. And yet Price was not only found guilty for illegally holding onto 3 seats and re-affirmed in 2011, he continued to commit the same crime through 2015 when his library term naturally expired. Price was one of the Plaintiff’s in the suit against Brown, in case you don’t glance at the document.
While even Brown might have questions about his conviction even to this day, he had the character and fortitude to accept the outcome, do what was asked of him and the moved his life along once he fulfilled his obligations. Sure the taxpayers paid his bills for a while, but that’s a part of maintaining at least some semblance of a fair and just justice system.
Price even went so far as to follow through on his threat made while speaking as Alderman of the City of Harvey during the April 22, 2013 Council meeting and petitioned Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to have Frank Zucharelli of Thornton Township to be removed from office. This was his false force and fury of the representative of an outraged public who was demanding a removal response to such a ghastly act that was done to #PoorPrice. Zucharelli is still in office, by the way.
So while Price hasn’t had any taxpayer dollars invested into him via the justice system’s checkbook in connection to his criminal activities beginning in 2007, he sure has been the recipient of tax dollars since the day he took office at City Hall, in salary and perks (travel, per diems, training, networking, etc.) for over 10 years now.
Sure the dollars and sources might have fluctuated some over the timeline, ebbing and flowing with the tide of cash available at any time in various municipal bank accounts, but Price also received signatory powers on the library’s bank account quite quickly after taking office, at the May 14, 2009 meeting in fact. It’s good to have a Two Person Integrity system to help ensure that no one single individual can tap into the cash, but there are ways around this type of TPI—especially if the other signer agrees with the release of funds.
So when it comes down to discerning who is to blame for all of this happening, it is definitely an accurate matter of convenience to blame almost every facet of our system–both structurally and for what happened. There is no denying people turned a blind eye to the matter at virtually any and every level imaginable, including the State’s Attorney’s office, let alone the whole 2007 FBI election puddle of muddled evidence. A lot of it was timing, as it was not that people were entirely silent.
In fact, it was in 2011 that the appeals court rejected Price’s appeal, thus once again solidifying the legal outcome that Price was acting illegally and that he must take corrective actions immediately to correct the problem.
Price ignored the court order through 2015, when he committed the next series of crimes by once again running for City Alderman on a base built on his dizzyingly compounded illegal acts at the point of the 2015 election, where he was elected and then settled in as only one government official, that of an Alderman of the City of Harvey.
With one last stomach-clenching side trip, think of this. Former Alderman Lemont Brown is yet another example of Illinois’ need to perform a thorough exam of our souls and ask whether or not obstructing all felons from office, minus a pardon, is truly the type of person we want to obstruct from office. Putting Brown’s record next to someone like Midlothian Park District Director Dominic Egizio is a perfect example of just how twisted and perverse the broken the Community Policing Of Government Units System is here in Illinois.
Egizio’s crime was at the very least sexual harassment of a co-worker through his own admission (he did the same thing Matt Lauer got fired for) and Brown went for a ride in a stolen vehicle he states he didn’t know was stolen. And yet Brown was taken from office via court documents because the system called for it and complete with public shaming on a regular basis during public City Council meetings, especially the day the courts concluded he needed to step down (I video taped that meeting and its on YouTube–none of it was called for in the least and definitely unethical. It was just downright creepy, including Kellogg’s contributions).
With Egizio is was as easy for him to escape any discomfort and disconnect from his life and lifestyle as his agreeing to quietly leaving the Joliet Park District where the event occurred and then just slip himself into the Director’s position that was about to be vacated by Evelyn Gleason (the mother of District 152’s former(?) attorney William “Bill” Gleason, who is the former Attorney for the Village of Midlothian before son Gleason was fired. His mom, Evelyn is besties with the former Mayor of Midlothian, Sharon Rybak and they worked together for years at the Midlothian Park District and on the Bremen School board. So hard to keep track of ’em all, especially when they leave one municipal unit for another. Hope you followed!).
I think my final point of this one lone post is this.
Kellogg was smart enough (if you want to call it that) to at least take a paid position at District 152 back in the day, thus at least suggesting the offices of Mayor and Superintendent were compatible because one was employee status and one was elected. No voting conflict. Still trouble when a Mayor has access to personal information from personnel files in a different municipal unit in my opinion, just like in Midlothian during the Rybak administration with clear carry-over of information on numerous levels and even financing cooperation in one set of circumstances.
Keith Price, the person who willfully and knowingly put his name on multiple ballots for multiple seats through circulating petitions and getting signatures, acquired his first 3 possibly with the aid of the FBI and then at one point, was operating in all four major municipal units.
Keith Price, the person who refused to abide by the law all the way back to 2007 so he could proceed to personally benefit from being a part of the Kellogg Crew for almost 11 years.
He’s the one who decided to refuse to do what the law called for because he decided that the law doesn’t apply to him the same way it applies to everyone else.
He’s the one who decided to dare anyone to even try to suggest removing him from office because he knew he had the backing of the Kellogg machine.
He’s the one who decided to become the go-to person if you were looking for blended insider information from up to 4 municipal units during any single conversation–let alone conversations over a period of time.
He’s the one who decided to represent himself as the contact person for businesses if they wanted an in at another municipal unit, complete with his creds backing the recommendation.
He’s the one who decided the rest of the world was crazy and that he was the only one to perform those jobs to the level they deserved to be performed at [see full sentence below]
Hindsight ends up demonstrating quite clearly that was just plain delusional thinking on Price’s part, even as recent as yesterday, as he still remains Alderman for the City of Harvey.
Now here’s why I did that little weird creative touch a few paragraphs up. First, someone truly needs to take a serious trip down #FlashbackLane and revisit the whole 2007 election cycle and what led up to it. But here is the full sentence I wanted to publish as my closing paragraph.
Keith Price is the one who first decided the rest of the world was crazy and that he was the only one who could perform those jobs to the levels and loyalties they deserved to be performed at–
and Price clearly took the “’The Harvey Rising Long Con’: Brought To You By Kellogg And Crew” playbook and more than kept up with his peers and co-workers Eric Kellogg, Donald Luster, Joseph Letke (deceased), etc. in terms of engineering a much faster rise in government corruption that as collectively taken to new and unexplored heights like the Holiday Inn deal, let alone the water debt devastation that is still washing over the community.
He should certainly take a bow as he leaves the office of Alderman of the City of Harvey, but let us hope there is to be no more encores to come from him as a government official.
But perhaps a sequel of some sort can have some more answers to some of the more serious questions about the behaviors of Keith Price since at least 2007 as an elected official of all of the municipal units he touched…
And helped break.
That’s the Price’s Touch for you–my definition: “the complete opposite of the Midas Touch on the community of Harvey.”