James T. Ingram

Fast food mascots are as memorable as the products they represent. Over the years they have become household names. Taco Bell had their Chihuahua, KFC has Colonel Sanders, Burger King has The King, and one of McDonald’s most infamous mascots is the Hamburglar.

Now it appears that former East St. Louis director of regulatory affairs, Kelvin Ellis, is vying for that distinction for the Hardee’s fast food chain.

Remember Kelvin? He was last sentenced to federal prison back in 2005 on corruption charges, including, election fraud, pimping women from ESLCity Hall and attempting to have one of them killed. He was previously convicted of extortion and incarcerated in 1990.

Well, just 19 days shy of completing the terms of his supervised release, the 67-year-old career “political parasite” (as one judge referred to him) concocted a grand scheme to return to the convict life that he so adores.

Ellis, despite knowing that he was to have no interaction with known felons, threw caution to the wind and decided to meet his buddy, former ESL Township Supervisor Oliver Hamilton, at a Caseyville Hardee’s restaurant.

At the time Hamilton, a newly convicted felon (he stole $40,000 from the ESLTownship) awaiting incarceration, should have been off-limits to Kelvin. But the lure of a juicy Thick Burger and a side of fries overwhelmed the taste buds and common sense of Ellis and made the day of the FBI agent who capturing a photo of the ravenous duo.

Either Ellis’ timing and judgment are just impeccably awful or the FBI agent was the most incredibly lucky guy in the world, telling U.S. District Chief Judge Michael Reagan that he was totally unaware that Ellis and Hamilton would even be there when we went to the restaurant for lunch.

Consequently, Judge Reagan sentenced Ellis to a four-month, all-expense-paid, return trip to Club Fed, on three counts of violating supervised release, to be served concurrently.

So while Kelvin is away for his winter “vacation” he’ll have a lot of idle time on his hands to create a pitch for Hardee's as their new mascot. I can just see the new spot now. “Hardee’s Thick Burger: So tasty it’s worth going back to big house” or “Hardee’s: If eating my Thick Burger is a crime, then lock me up and throw away the key.”

Just don’t forget a brother when the Hardee’s deal greets you in your jail cell, Kelvin.

Email: jtingram_1960@yahoo.com; Twitter@JamesTIngram.

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