The 66-page indictment includes transcripts of communications between the elected officials – Aldermanic Speaker Lewis Reed, Alderman John Collins-Muhammad and Alderman Jeffrey Boyd – and ‘John Doe’, the businessman seeking tax abatement and other considerations. Here are excerpts:
On January 24, 2020, John Doe asked Alderman John Collins-Muhammad what he owed him for his letter of support for the proposed tax cut. Collins-Muhammad said “25,” which means $2,500, and said he would return this afternoon to recuperate.
John Doe: I really appreciate it, my man.
Collins-Muhammad: No problem at all.
John Doe: You save me a lot of money.
Collins-Muhammad: It’s our job
John Doe: For that…the place. You know?
Collins-Muhammad: It’s our job as Alderman, we’re supposed to help business owners.
On June 17, 2020, Collins-Muhammad and Doe discussed a public official, identified only as “Public Official One” who Collins-Muhammad believed could obtain government contracts for John Doe’s trucking and transportation business, according to the indictment. The two agreed to share the profits from the contracts that Doe obtained through the help of this official.
John Doe: Should I throw something at him?
Collins-Muhammad: (Expletive) Yeah, you should throw something at him. Yeah, you should throw something at him.
John Doe: Okay.
Collins-Muhammad: If you don’t throw something at him, he’ll never come back.
John Doe: No, I’m going to throw something at him.
Collins-Muhammad: Throw something at him.
John Doe: Should I give him 10 (one thousand)?
Collins-Muhammad: 10 is good.
John Doe: 10,000.
Collins-Muhammad: 10 is good
John Doe: I’ll give it to him tomorrow. I’ll get 10 for him and I’ll get, how much for you, John?
Collins-Muhammad: Whatever you give me, you and I have a relationship.
On June 15, 2021, John Doe and Collins-Muhammad discussed a car Doe provided him with as part of their arrangement.
John Doe: How is the vehicle?
John Doe: Do you drive well?
Collins-Muhammad: smooth sailing.
That same day, Collins-Muhammad told John Doe to “start digging. Like go, man. you have the, you go green light.
Ten days later, Collins-Muhammad introduced a tax abatement bill for John Doe’s project.
In January 2021, Aldermanic chairman Lewis Reed agreed to help John Doe obtain minority business certification for his trucking and haulage business, the indictment states and also agreed to help John Doe obtain contracts for future construction projects in the city. It was then that John Doe gave Reed $2,000 in cash.
John Doe: We’re going to help each other in the long run.
Reed: The long term. We will all grow together.
Over the next few months, John Doe gave Reed’s campaign contributions totaling $3,500 and four other cash payments totaling $4,000 in return for Reed’s help, according to the indictment.
In August 2021, Reed, Collins-Muhammad, and John Doe met at Reed’s campaign office to discuss the proposed tax cut.
Reed: Hey bro, by the way this guy (Collins-Muhammad) has your back 1000%.
Collins-Muhammad: 1000%, he’s my guy. He’s my guy.
It was at this meeting, according to the indictment, that Reed and Collins-Muhammad urged John Doe to slow construction of his project to allow the tax abatement approval process to work.
Reed: Can you slow down a bit?
Collins-Muhammad: As long as you haven’t completed the construction before, you benefit from the tax deduction.
John Doe said he could.
In a December 2021 meeting at Reed’s office, Reed informed John Doe of a recall effort to unseat Collins-Muhammad and that Reed hoped to wage a “unified campaign” for mayor that required a war chest of one million dollars in campaign funds. He asked John Doe to donate $20,000.
John Doe: I brought some money with me. What would work?
Reed: If you could do five today, that would be a big help.
John Doe: Got you, got you. But I was really trying to get along with, you know, I got somebody who worked on named (ZW) tax abatement.
Reed cut off the conversation, seeming to want to avoid mixing campaign talks with business interests.
Later, however, Reed drafted a timetable for the introduction and passage of the Tax Abatement Commission Bill, delivered it to John Doe, and accepted from John Doe $4,000.
Reed: Thanks, man.
John Doe: Anytime, brother. I like you a lot, because you, know, you helped me a lot.
On July 30, 2020, John Doe, at the direction of Alderman Jeffrey Boyd, emailed him a letter regarding his desire to purchase city-owned land in his neighborhood. Boyd asked John Doe what he planned to bid, and John Doe replied $9,000.
Boyd: OK, I’m doing the letter now.
John Doe: Thank you, brother.
Boyd: With pleasure, I am very PRO BUSINESS.
During an April 2021 meeting at John Doe’s business, Boyd assured John Doe that he was “home free now” with the purchase of land from the city.
John Doe: I go to the bank to get a cashier’s check. You saved me a lot of money, bro, a lot of (expletive) money. This place, if it’s (for sale) by owner, I could have afforded at least a quarter of a million dollars for it.
Boyd: Well, it’s all about good relationships, you know.
John Doe: It’s true, it’s true. I appreciate it bro, you saved me a lot of money.
John Doe: Piece of cake. If you weren’t in the picture, I would have been through hell.
Boyd: Yeah, it’s nice to have a good alderman.
John Doe: It’s true, it’s true of course.
Boyd: You know I didn’t hesitate, right?
John Doe: I know.
John Doe then offered Boyd $2,000 in cash.
Boyd: It’s okay, (John Doe). Trust me it’s OK you don’t have to worry
John Doe: You have done a lot. I know I don’t have to.
Boyd: I appreciate it but you know when I’m not a councilman anymore, I want you to take my call.
Boyd then accepted $2,000 in cash.
On February 18, 2022, Boyd met with John Doe where John Doe gave Boyd $2,500 in cash.
John Doe: It’s out of respect from me to you, you’re a very respectful man.
Boyd: I appreciate it.
John Doe: I know I’m good; you are a good man. You know and what you did for me is you saved me a lot of money my brother he has 25 (hundred dollars).
Boyd: No problem.
They also discussed a Collins-Muhammad bill to reduce taxes on John Doe’s other development project. John Doe also asked Boyd to monitor this invoice.
Boyd: For the natural bridge?
John Doe: No, Von Phul.
Boyd: Yeah, I don’t see it as a big deal unless people sign up and complain about it, but it’ll pass. I mean hell, I’ll pass the motion, I think (John) might be on HUDZ though. I’ll get out of HUDZ, then it’ll get to the ground and only if some of these f—–g little young white progressives act like f—–g jerks, you now. They can close s–t. So we just have to make sure we hold our shit together. For the most part, I don’t foresee a problem.