(The Center Square) – A federal grand jury indicted the mayor of Riverdale for allegedly lying under oath in a civil deposition and corruptly obstructing a lawsuit that claimed the mayor retaliated against a former city contractor.
Lawrence Jackson, 49, of Riverdale, Ill, was charged with one count of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice. An arraignment date had not yet been scheduled as of Thursday afternoon. The obstruction charge is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Perjury carries a maximum sentence of five years.
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 the company 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 a person aligned with Jackson who had allegedly assisted the mayor in replacing Tri-State with a different garbage collection company, according to the indictment.
The switch cost taxpayers money. According to the indictment, in the spring of 2018, when Tri-State emailed Jackson about the annual spring clean up event, which the Tri-State was under contract to perform at no additional charge to the city, Jackson gave the contract to another company, identified as Company B in the indictment, at a cost of $18,000.
Tri-State’s lawsuit alleged that Jackson gave preferential treatment to the recycling business at the expense of Tri-State.
Jackson was deposed in the suit on Feb. 25, 2021. He answered questions under oath.
Jackson’s tried to conceal his relationship with the recycling company’s owner, including the owner’s 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, according to the indictment. The owner was not named in the indictment.
In the deposition, Jackson 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, according to the indictment.
Jackson didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.