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CHICAGO — A federal grand jury in Chicago has indicted the mayor of Riverdale, Ill. for allegedly lying under oath in a civil deposition and corruptly obstructing a lawsuit that claimed the mayor retaliated against a former city vendor.

LAWRENCE JACKSON, 49, of Riverdale, Ill, is charged with one count of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice, according to the indictment returned Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago.  Arraignment has not yet been scheduled.

The indictment was announced by Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Robert W. “Wes” Wheeler, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI, Machelle L. Jindra, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General, Ruth M. Mendonça, Inspector-in-Charge of the Chicago Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and Justin Campbell, Special Agent-in-Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago.  Substantial assistance was provided by the Illinois State Police.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sean Franzblau and Kirsten Moran, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Netols. 

According to the indictment, Tri-State Disposal Inc., a waste management company in Riverdale, filed a civil lawsuit against Riverdale and Jackson in 2018, alleging that Jackson retaliated against Tri-State by refusing to renew its garbage collection contract with the city.  The owners of Tri-State had spoken out publicly against the city’s issuance of a zoning permit that allowed a recycling and waste transfer business to operate in Riverdale.  The recycling business was owned by an individual aligned with Jackson who had allegedly assisted the mayor in replacing Tri-State with a different garbage collection company.

Tri-State’s lawsuit alleged that Jackson caused the city to give preferential treatment to the recycling business at the expense of Tri-State.  Jackson participated in a deposition in the suit on Feb. 25, 2021, and answered questions under oath by an attorney for Tri-State.  Jackson’s answers were intended to conceal his relationship with the recycling company’s owner, including the owner’s extensive involvement in the operations of Centennial Holdings, a trucking company that Jackson and his wife owned on paper, but which was effectively operated by the recycling company’s owner for Jackson and his wife’s benefit, the indictment states.  In the deposition, Jackson falsely testified that a Riverdale village administrator introduced him to the other garbage collection company and recommended that it replace Tri-State, even though he knew that the recycling company’s owner made the introduction and recommendation, the indictment states.  During the deposition, Jackson exchanged text messages with the recycling company’s owner regarding the topics being discussed, the indictment states. 

The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt.  The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  The obstruction charge is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison, while the perjury charge carries a maximum sentence of five years.