CAT Tracks for August 24, 2011

From the WPSD TV Channel 6 Website...

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Former city council member says he was pushed from job he never wanted

Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - Terry Snell

Story Created: Aug 23, 2011 at 9:32 PM CDT
(Story Updated: Aug 23, 2011 at 10:26 PM CDT)

CAIRO, Ill. A local city council seat is empty. On Tuesday night, the Cairo, Illinois City Council accepted Steve Crume's resignation, after a judge ordered him out because of 20-year-old felony convictions.

But Crume said he never wanted to be on the council and the mayor and a fellow council member paid for his campaign, expecting to get a "yes man" in exchange.

The mayor said he did not talk Crume into running but said one council member did. When we asked more questions, both the mayor and that council member walked away.

Council member "Bo" Purchase didn't want to talk about his now former colleague Steve Crume's allegations that he and the mayor were instrumental in his election.

But Mayor Tyrone Coleman said someone did talk Crume into running. He said it was a council member but wouldn't say who.

But now that Crume no longer sits on that council, he is willing to talk about what led up to his short time in city government.

"They said if you run, you'll get a lot of votes. I didn't really campaign. They bought all my signs, everything," Crume said.

He said Coleman and Purchase stopped him on the corner of 34th and Park streets and said the incumbent council member had to go.

"They hate this guy for some reason," Crume said.

Crume said Purchase told him what to do once elected.

"'You follow my lead, do what I do.' When I said no to a lot of things he wanted to do, he cut me off," Crume said.

But it wasn't Purchase who took this case to court. It was the incumbent, Lorenzo Nelson, who lost the election.

The court said Crume can't serve because of prior drug convictions. The question now is, who will? That's another topic Coleman didn't want to discuss.

Crume said he was told not to say anything about this but he came forward hoping it would make a difference.

He said he, his wife and five kids are now looking to move out of Cairo.

The judge ordered that the incumbent, Lorenzo Nelson, who lost the election, fill that seat. But the city council has yet to reinstate Nelson.

Illinois law says that a person can't be put into office if they've been convicted of a felony.

For our earlier report from reporter Robert Bradfield and photojournalist Ryan Brooker, see the video.