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Elgin trial moved to spring of 2017

Elgin trial moved to spring of 2017

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HAMMOND — The public corruption trial of former Calumet Township Trustee Mary Elgin has been postponed until the spring.

U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen has reset her case to begin the week of May 8.

Her lawyers earlier this month had requested more time to prepare for her jury trial, which was previously scheduled to begin Nov. 7.

A federal grand jury indicted Elgin, 72, of Gary, on charges of wire fraud, extortion, tax offenses and making false statements to federal agents.

Three of her office employees, Ethel Shelton, Steven Hunter — who is Elgin’s son — and Alex Wheeler, also face wire fraud and extortion counts. All four are pleading not guilty and are free on bond while awaiting trial.

Elgin’s office annually administered millions of dollars in housing, health care and other types of public assistance to thousands of township residents, primarily from Gary. She served from 2003 until her defeat in 2014 by current Calumet Township Trustee Kimberly Robinson.

Federal prosecutors allege Elgin expected some of her government employees either to purchase or sell campaign fundraiser tickets, enlisted subordinates to sell the tickets to employees during government office hours and placed employees who couldn’t afford the tickets on payment plans.

The indictment alleges employees who failed to purchase tickets received unfavorable treatment by supervisors, including being given undesirable work and were threatened with being laid off their jobs.


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