Mayor Kevin Hutchinson of Columbia, Illinois resigned today. Many believe this is due to his indictment last week.
Mayor Hutchinson's term was to expire as mayor in April, however, it was no shock to the people of Columbia to hear today that the mayor was resigning. “It is with a heavy heart, but due to the recent events, I feel it is in the best interest of the City and my family for me to immediately resign my position as Mayor,” Hutchinson said in a news release.
Federal law enforcement agents had previously questioned Mayor Hutchinson regarding a contract that the city had signed off for that he clearly had a conflict of interest in.
According to the indictment posted on the Department of Justice website, Mayor Hutchinson is a licensed insurance agent and owns a company called B.M.C. Associates (this is in addition to being the Mayor of Columbia, IL). The indictment said Hutchinson's company received referral commissions from health insurance and property/casualty loss insurance contracts that the city provides to its employees.
According to the indictment, Mayor Hutchinson was required to file an annual Statement of Economic Interests. In his 2018 statement, Mayor Hutchinson falsely stated he had no "personal financial interest, directly or indirectly, in any contract, work or business of the municipality."
In March 2019, Mayor Hutchinson was asked by the Federal Metro-East Public Corruption Task Force about the contracts. He told federal law enforcement agents which included an FBI special agent that his only interest in the contracts the city had was his official capacity as the mayor of the city, which the indictment says is untrue.
The United States Attorneys Office then pursued an indictment and after his arrest, Mayor Hutchinson was released on bond.