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Last Update

2002-11-28T00:00:00.000Z

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True Vine Church

Background Information

Employment History

Mayor
Dixmoor

Pastor
Bethel A.M.E. Church

Mayor
Village of Dixmoor

Assistant Pastor
Baptist church

State's Attorney
Cook County

Affiliations

Vice Chair
Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition

Education



Boston Technical High School

Bachelor of Science
Mathematics
Morgan State College

Masters
Divinity
Paine Theological Seminary

Web References (70 Total References)


Warned away by a letter from ...

articles.chicagotribune.com, $reference.date [cached]

Warned away by a letter from the police chief that later was called a mistake, newly elected Dixmoor Mayor Rev. Donald C. Luster did not attend what would have been his first Village Board meeting and a showdown of sorts Wednesday night.

Instead, he called a news conference for Thursday morning at Village Hall.
...
"We have received internal correspondence stating that if Mr. Luster or his supporters were to attend the meeting, they would not be allowed on public property, and out of concern for the residents we knew would be here, we did not want to cause some kind of confrontation," Evangeline Levison, Luster's attorney, said outside the meeting.
...
Luster pleaded guilty to robbery in 1991 and served probation.
Luster said he is officially mayor because his election on April 3 was certified by a Cook County judge and he was sworn in late last week.
"Donald Luster is not the mayor of Dixmoor.
...
"[Luster] doesn't have the right to fire me. And he if he does, I will see him in court."
...
Richard Devine took the unprecedented step of filing a lawsuit to oust Luster under the state law.
...
Also appearing Wednesday night outside the meeting was Geri Moklak, Luster's former landlord in Park Forest, who has filed a complaint in Cook County Circuit Court seeking more than $5,000 in back rent and damages from Luster.
...
Her assertion that Luster lived in Park Forest until June 30 raises anew the question of whether he met Dixmoor's requirement that a candidate live in the village for a year before filing an election petition.
...
The pastor of True Vine Church, where Luster is associate pastor, showed his support at Wednesday's meeting.


Dixmoor mayor indicted

www.starnewspapers.com, $reference.date [cached]

Luster charged with failure to file income tax, state benefits fraud

Thursday, November 28, 2002
...
Dixmoor Mayor Donald Luster, who nearly two years ago testified he had not paid income taxes since 1990, has been indicted on allegations of failing to file state income tax returns and fraudulently collecting unemployment benefits.
The indictment charges Luster, 39, of 14209 Circle Drive, with two counts of failure to file Illinois income tax returns and one count of state benefits fraud.Both charges are felonies.
Luster said Tuesday that neither he nor his attorney had been notified of the indictment; he denied the allegations.
"I corrected these problems when I took office," he said.
Luster said he would make a public statement about the charges during a Dixmoor Village Board meeting Wenesday night.
Luster will be arraigned Dec. 13, the same day as Dixmoor's Christmas party for village employees.
The indictment, handed up late Monday by a Cook County grand jury, accuses Luster of not filing state income tax returns in 1999 and 2000.It also accuses Luster of collecting unemployment benefits on at least two occasions between Oct. 16, 1999, and Dec. 31, 1999, while he was earning wages from Express Personnel Services, a temporary-employment service.
The Illinois Department of Revenue and the Illinois Department of Employment Security investigated the case.
Failing to file tax returns is punishable by one to three years in prison, and state benefit fraud carries a possible sentence of two to five years in prison.
The indictment was new grist for Luster's critics.
...
"I definitely know he stood on the stand himself and said he hasn't paid taxes in nine years," said Brad Carpenter, who ran against Luster in 2001.
...
Other controversies have included Luster's trying to pay himself a salary of $1,250 a month to act as village liquor commissioner three months after becoming mayor.It had been an unpaid position.
Although state law prohibits a pay increase from taking effect in the same term in which it is approved, the village board gave in and approved a monthly salary of $850.
A native son of Dixmoor, Luster works as an independent broker for a local financial firm and does some consulting work.He is also a Baptist minister, serving as an associate pastor at True Vine Church in Dixmoor.
Allegations of tax evasion were leveled against Luster during the campaign leading up to the April 2001 municipal elections in which Luster defeated Carpenter by one vote.
...
But a Cook County circuit court judge ruled unconstitutional the state law that would seem to prohibit Luster from holding office because of his felony conviction.
During a court hearing about his convictions and whether he could take office, Luster admitted he had not filed income tax returns since 1990, and had been driving a vehicle without insurance or proper registration.
Luster said he has taken care of all the issues he faced when he took office in May 2001.
"These are old issues.There is nothing new brewing here.I have nothing to hide," Luster said.
There had been a question about an overpayment of unemployment benefits, Luster said, "but I took care of that issue as well."
"To me this seems possibly political and/or personal.I know who I am, and I know that I have done nothing wrong," he said.
"If this is the best they can do to try and get rid of me, then God be with them.But the people must realize that these charges are merely accusations."
Luster said despite the charges he will continue working to improve the village.
"I am not fretting over this.I have bigger fish to fry," he said."I am going to keep working to move the village forward."
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Charisma News Service

www.charismanews.com, $reference.date [cached]

At the center of the dispute is Donald C. Luster, associate pastor of True Vine Missionary Baptist Church in Dixmoor, an area described by "The (Chicago) Sun-Times" as "dogged by crime corruption and economic distress for more than 70 years."

The 37-year-old with a criminal past who has promised to clean up the area won the mayoral election by just one vote earlier this month.But his victory is being challenged in a recount and by the claim that his felony conviction bars him from holding office.
In an interview with the "Sun-Times" today, Luster said that he wanted to be "totally accountable" for his past."But my thing is, although I'm trying to repair a shattered or broken past, I cannot let it affect a very promising future."He told the newspaper: "I ran from Jesus and now I'll forever run for Jesus...I can truly say that by faith, through His grace, I've been saved and delivered."
Charlotte Miller, an outgoing Dixmoor trustee, said that young people listened to Luster.
...
Luster's checkered past includes two months jail time and charges ranging from driving with a suspended license and disorderly conduct to robbery and forgery.He also owes money for rent, a college loan and back taxes."I'm not ashamed of it," he said of his past to the "Sun-Times.""You don't know the joy of being found until you are truly lost."He said that for years he had been "really just running from my calling...alcohol, drugs, promiscuity -- the whole nine [yards]."
Luster returned to his childhood faith in the early 1990s and in 1998 began working with True Vine -- founded by his grandfather in the 1950s."Until you have a wilderness experience and a true God experience, you really wouldn't understand this," he said.Kim Smith, a member of the True Vine youth group, said Luster did not try to hide his past."He tries to like prevent us from doing a lot of stuff that he did in his past.You know, people change."
A county judge has issued an injunction keeping the current mayor in office until challenges of the count and to the constitutionality of Luster's holding office are resolved.


Charisma News Service Update for Monday, April 30, 2001

www.covenant-raleigh.org, $reference.date [cached]

At the center of the dispute is Donald C. Luster , associate pastor of True Vine Missionary Baptist Church in Dixmoor , an area described by The ( Chicago ) Sun-Times as dogged by crime corruption and economic distress for more than 70 years..

The 37-year-old with a criminal past who has promised to clean up the area won the mayoral election by just one vote earlier this month.But his victory is being challenged in a recount and by the claim that his felony conviction bars him from holding office.
In an interview with the Sun-Times today , Luster said that he wanted to be totally accountable for his past.But my thing is , although I'm trying to repair a shattered or broken past , I cannot let it affect a very promising future. He told the newspaper : I ran from Jesus and now I'll forever run for Jesus... I can truly say that by faith , through His grace , I've been saved and delivered..
Charlotte Miller , an outgoing Dixmoor trustee , said that young people listened to Luster.
...
Luster's checkered past includes two months jail time and charges ranging from driving with a suspended license and disorderly conduct to robbery and forgery.He also owes money for rent , a college loan and back taxes.I'm not ashamed of it , he said of his past to the Sun-Times. You don't know the joy of being found until you are truly lost. He said that for years he had been really just running from my calling...alcohol , drugs , promiscuity -- the whole nine [ yards ] ..
Luster returned to his childhood faith in the early 1990s and in 1998 began working with True Vine -- founded by his grandfather in the 1950s.Until you have a wilderness experience and a true God experience , you really wouldn't understand this , he said.Kim Smith , a member of the True Vine youth group , said Luster did not try to hide his past.He tries to like prevent us from doing a lot of stuff that he did in his past.You know , people change..
A county judge has issued an injunction keeping the current mayor in office until challenges of the count and to the constitutionality of Luster's holding office are resolved.


Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition :: BCAC Board

www.bcacct.org, $reference.date [cached]

Rev. Donald C. Luster

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