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Stroger pal Eugene Mullins appears in court on kickback charges

Wednesday, September 05, 2012
Chicago Sun-Times
by Lisa Donovan

Eugene Mullins, a former Chicago Police officer and onetime chief media spokesman for former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, was back in federal court Wednesday morning on charges he was involved in a kickback scheme involving government contracts.

During the minutes-long hearing before U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve, a federal prosecutors working on the case said the office had turned over a “substantial” amount of discovery to the defense.

Attorney Brunell Donald-Kyei, standing in court next to her client, Mullins, said the amount of discovery she received from federal prosecutors is “enormous” and told the judge she needed more time to review it.

The judge set the next hearing date for Oct. 22.

After the hearing, a reporter asked Mullins about the evidence prosecutors turned over and whether he refutes the claims. He offered a weak smile and said he couldn’t comment – “not right now, not right now.”

Federal authorities allege Mullins, Stroger’s best friend since childhood, accepted thousands of dollars while still working for the county in exchange for steering government contracts to four men.

In announcing the charges last month, officials said in a written statement that between January 2010 and January 2011, “Mullins allegedly used his county position to submit and cause others to submit false documents to the county to assist the four co-defendants in obtaining professional and managerial service contracts and payment from the county.”

Specifically, he accepted $34,700 in exchange for improperly steering four county contracts for disaster relief, energy grants and census work, authorities say.

During an August court hearing, Donald-Kyei denied the charges against her client that were laid out in a grand jury indictment. That includes allegations that little to no work was done on in exchange for the money. Mullins’ attorney insisted then that all work on the county contracts was completed properly.

Donald-Kyei said then federal authorities seemed to be fishing for more than just her client. The day Mullins was arrested in the federal corruption case, FBI agents quickly asked him if he shared any alleged kickback money with the former county board president, who served from 2006 to 2010, Donald-Kyei said. When contacted by the Sun-Times, Stroger denied any wrongdoing.

Mullins, a former Chicago police officer of more than 20 years, had been working as a part-time employee at the Richton Park police department.

The four co-defendants in the case have been identified as Gary Render, 43; Michael L. Peery, 51; and Clifford Borner, 45, all of Chicago; and Kenneth Gregory Demos, 50, of Oak Park. Each was charged with one count of misprision of a felony for allegedly concealing Mullins’ actions.

Peery is executive producer of three WVON-FM radio programs: the “Cliff Kelley Show,” the “Other Side with Charles Butler” and “Dollars and Cents.”

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