Federal officials investigating check given to West Side alderman

May 27, 2016
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The Chicago Sun-Times reported Thursday that Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) is “trying to cooperate” with the FBI as it investigates a nearly $5,000 check he received from a woman charged with bilking an Illinois youth program.

Reporter Fran Spielman writes that a criminal complaint filed last month charges Franshuan Myles with misusing nearly $14,000 in grant money the state gave Divine Praise Inc.

Federal officials allege that Myles reported to the state paying $51,255 to youth workers in a summer jobs program; she also reported paying $13,401 in taxes.

But investigators say Myles, president and executive director of Divine Praise, paid no federal taxes in connection with the program, and the group’s checking account showed only $38,840 in checks had been paid to youth workers, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The criminal complaint also alleges someone described only as “Individual A” received a $4,932 check signed by Myles on Aug. 26, 2011.

A spokesman for Ald. Ervin confirmed this week that “Individual A” is the second-term City Council member. Ervin was not available for comment.

His first child – a daughter – was born last week; his wife, Melissa Conyears-Ervin, is running for the Illinois House of Representatives as the Democratic nominee.

Federal authorities also charged that Myles spent nearly $5,000 of the grant money on personal expenses. Among those expenditures, according to the Tribune: shoes, a men’s wallet and other merchandise from apparel stores, and at least one restaurant, rental of a vehicle for a former Divine Praise officer, payment of a Comcast phone line subscription and cash withdrawals totaling about $2,800.

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