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Government, Politics & Issues

Former Red Bud Mayor Pleads Guilty To Lying To FBI, Corruption Task Force

Federal courthouse in East St. Louis
Via Belleville News-Democrat
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois courthouse in East St. Louis.

A former Red Bud mayor pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to lying to federal agents about whether he paid former Columbia Mayor Kevin Hutchinson a commission for recommending his insurance company as carrier of the city’s casualty loss and workers compensation policies.

Tim Lowry, an agent for Ackerman Insurance in Red Bud, faces up to five years in federal prison when he is sentenced on November 22.

According to court records, federal agents determined that Lowry and his company paid Hutchinson approximately nearly $16,000 in “referral commission” between 2016 and 2018.

“Lowry was aware that elected public officials are prohibited under the Illinois Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act, from being financially interested, directly or indirectly, in any contract work or business of the municipality,” according to a stipulation of fact filed with the U.S. Court for the Southern District of Illinois.

In April of 2019, Lowery told an FBI agent and a federal public corruption task force officer that he made no such payments to Hutchinson. The payments, in fact, amounted to a 40% commission on the city’s Illinois Counties Risk Management Trust (ICRMT) policy, court records state.

Lowry resigned as mayor of Red Bud in July. He reportedly did not mention his legal troubles to the city council, only that he had personal “pending issue” that he couldn’t discuss publicly.

Hutchinson, who was nearing the end of his fourth term, resigned as mayor of Columbia in February, less than a week after being indicted in federal court, also for lying to federal agents. He, too, pleaded guilty and was sentenced in June to two years of probation, a $500 fine and 40 hours of community service.

Hutchinson works as a director with St. Louis-based C.J. Thomas Insurance Co., according to its website. His bio states that he joined the company in 1993. The federal indictment doesn’t mention C.J.Thomas. It describes Hutchinson as a licensed insurance agent who owned a closely-held Illinois corporation called BMC Associates, Inc.

Neither Hutchinson or Lowry have not responded to BND requests for comment through email or voicemail.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Norman R. Smith prosecuted the case against Lowry.

Carolyn P. Smith is a reporter for the Belleville News-Democrat, a news partner of St. Louis Public Radio.

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