Tag Archives: MEL REYNOLDS

Judge orders Higginbottom — again — to give Mel Reynolds records

(CHICAGO) A federal judge has ordered Elzie Higginbottom to turn tax and banking records over to former U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds — again.

Five months ago, U.S. District Judge John Darrah gave the Chicago businessman 30 days to give up tax returns and a pile of canceled checks as Reynolds prepared for his federal trial on misdemeanor tax charges, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

While engaged in business ventures in Zimbabwe, Higginbottom had agreed to pay Reynolds a fee to draw upon his relationships there, prosecutors have said. In his September ruling, Darrah called Higginbottom’s tax records “clearly relevant” to the case against Reynolds.

Instead of complying with the federal judge’s order, Higginbottom has balked and claimed he was being harassed by Reynolds.

But Wednesday, Higginbottom was finally forced to appear in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve. That’s where his attorney, William Murphy, argued that many of the records at issue had already been turned over to federal prosecutors, who handed what they had received to Reynolds.

Other records, such as Higginbottom’s personal tax returns, “have nothing to do with this,” Murphy argued.

St. Eve ordered Higginbottom to turn them all over to Reynolds, regardless, and gave him a new deadline of March 20.

Murphy again tried to argue that the records had been turned over, prompting a frustrated St. Eve to note they weren’t given directly to Reynolds.

“You told me that yourself,” St. Eve said.

Reynolds subpoenaed tax forms and correspondence from Wilcar LLC, Burling Builders, East Lake Management, LCL Higginbottom and ELH Partners LLC, records show. He has been accused of failing to file tax returns between 2009 and 2012.

His trial is now set for Sept. 11.

© Copyright 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

Ex-Congressman Mel Reynolds, facing tax charges, gets locked up

CHICAGO) Mel Reynolds, the ex-Congressman accused of tax crimes, was taken into federal custody Wednesday after he failed to find a place to stay in the Chicago area where he could under electronic monitoring, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

Reynolds faces only misdemeanor tax charges at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse, but his case has been filled with drama.

On Wednesday, Reynolds told the court he is no longer being represented by prominent defense attorney Richard Kling and rather will represent himself.

U.S. District Judge John Darrah had given Reynolds several days to find a permanent place to stay where he could undergo home electronic monitoring, but Reynolds came up empty Wednesday and was taken into custody.

The issue came to head after Reynolds was arrested last week at the Atlanta airport when he failed to meet the judge’s deadline to return to Chicago from South Africa.

Darrah called Reynolds a “bad flight risk” when Reynolds finally appeared in Chicago. Reynolds said he had remained overseas, despite the judge’s instructions, to tend to his ailing daughter. Prosecutors have questioned the extent of her illness.

Reynolds also visited Zambia last year without a judge’s permission. But he has argued he’s not a flight risk because he has returned to Darrah’s courtroom after leaving the United States. He was also overseas when prosecutors filed their indictment.

Last July, Reynolds had to scramble to find a place to live because of lifetime restrictions on his residency stemming from his conviction decades ago for having sex with an underage campaign worker. His attorney said at the time that Reynolds “doesn’t have a lot of money.”

Kling also said that could help Reynolds as he fought the federal charges.

“You have to have an income in order to be required to file,” Kling said in July 2015. “I’m very serious. He has a defense, as to whether he had an income.”

Now Reynolds’ trial, set for June 20, could pull two prominent Chicago businessmen to the witness stand. Real estate developer Elzie Higginbottom and onetime-mayoral candidate Willie Wilson separately hired Reynolds to do consulting work involving Zimbabwe on their behalf in recent years.

–Chicago Sun-Times

© Copyright 2016 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved.