Southern Illinois mayor quits in wake of corruption charges

March 2, 2021 GMT

COLUMBIA, Ill. (AP) — The longtime mayor of the southern Illinois city of Columbia has resigned in the wake a federal indictment accusing him of public corruption, a city official announced Monday.

Last week, a federal grand jury indicted Mayor Kevin Hutchinson on charges of making a false statement to the federal Southern Illinois Public Corruption Task Force. It is a felony with a maximum sentence of five years in prison, U.S. attorney’s office spokesman Nathan Stump.

In announcing Hutchinson’s resignation, city administrator Doug Brimm revealed part of a letter Hutchinson wrote to members of the Columbia City Council.


“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,” the letter stated.

The indictment describes Hutchinson as an insurance agent who owns BMC Associates. It alleges that without the knowledge of the City Council or the city administrator, Hutchinson and his company received referral commissions from insurance contracts the city of Columbia placed with two insurance companies.

Hutchinson is finishing his fourth term as mayor of the Mississippi River city of Columbia, which has a population close to 11,000 and is about 13 miles (20.7 km) south of St. Louis. He announced last summer he wouldn’t run for reelection in April.